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Serbian government presents laws to speed up privatisation

BELGRADE (Reuters) - Serbia's government adopted a new privatisation bill and proposed changes to bankruptcy law on Sunday to speed up the sale of loss-making state-owned companies.

The laws, which have yet to be passed by parliament, are a pre-condition for the release of a $250 million World Bank budget support loan.

Serbia's 2014 budget is forecast at seven percent of national output, but analysts warn it will exceed this target because state-owned companies including the country's sole steel plant and railway company will eat up 600 million euros (474.60 million pounds)of taxpayers' money.

The new privatisation law will allow sale of assets in bilateral deals and the write-off of companies' debt to state-owned entities to make companies more attractive to potential buyers.

Some critics say that the law will open the door to less transparent deals, but government officials argue it will speed up the sale of more than 600 troubled companies.

The law on bankruptcy will make bankruptcy procedures more efficient and improve the business environment, the government said in a statement on Sunday.

(Reporting by Ivana Sekularac; Editing by Stephen Powell)