Moldova, which used to account for approximately one third of the former USSR’s total output of raw tobacco, has inched close to awarding a lucrative privatization contract to the German company Reemtsma. A majority of the tender committee in Chisinau has chosen Reemtsma over world leader British American Tobacco (BAT) for the contract to form a joint venture with Moldova’s Tutun (Tobacco) state concern. The winner acquires 60 percent of Tutun’s shares for $70 million and the right to build and operate a large-capacity, export-oriented cigarette manufacturing plant near Chisinau. A minority of the tender committee’s members filed a separate opinion, reportedly in favor of BAT. The award has not been officially announced, as Prime Minister Andrei Sangheli returned the draft contract to the committee for unspecified amendments. Reemtsma and BAT have long competed for the contract. (Infotag, Basapress, May 16 & 18)
Georgia’s Main Opposition Party Splits.