BELGRADE – Companies delay arrival in Serbia over COVID-19

The German MTU giant, which has been heralding its arrival in Novi Pazar, has said that due to the coronavirus crisis it will be postponing its investment plans in Serbia by six months, while Chinese HBIS, which owns the Zelezara Smederevo steel mill, has announced it will be shutting down one of two blast furnaces and that it will restart “the furnace when the market conditions are there,” according to the 9 July edition of Blic Biznis.

The paper said that these decisions were the first measures by foreign investors in Serbia to postpone their plans due to the coronavirus situation.

Economic experts claim that these two companies will not be the last to shut down operations and that private companies have been expected to do this in circumstances in which income and demand are dropping globally. 

While Blic Biznis had recalled that “back in September last year, Serbia was at the top in terms of foreign direct investment,” consultant for foreign investment Milan Kovacevic said that “Today, there isn’t a single economic branch that hasn’t been impacted by the pandemic and not a single company that hasn’t seen income drop over the past several months.”

“This is why one should not expect them to make new investments, hence the estimate that growth will continue is unrealistic. The shutdown will have a very bad effect on the entire Serbian economy,” Kovacevic added. (

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