Companies Linked to Politicians Win Serbian Street-Light Contracts Again

Three companies that have links to people who are close to Serbian and Hungarian government politicians won yet more contracts in Serbia in 2020 to refurbish street lighting using LED lights.

The three companies, Resalta, Keep Light and Esco Elios, which have been winning similar public-private partnership contracts since 2016, were the subject of a BIRN investigation two years ago into their political connections.

Street-lighting contracts for 2020 also went to three other companies, Petrol, Emporio Team and Elgra Vision.

Two of these companies made combined bids with Resalta, while the other has business connections with Resalta in Slovenia.

The total value of the street-lighting contracts for 2020 was 66 million euros, of which 56 million euros went to these companies.

Resalta's parent company is based in Slovenia and co-owned by Mark Crandall, a Belgrade-based US businessman who was Serbian Prime Minister Ana Brnabic's boss when she was a director of the Serbian branch of his wind-farm firm Continental Winds.

Resalta and Crandall have both previously denied that political ties have helped their business interests in Serbia.

When asked about winning the tenders in 2020, Resalta told BIRN: "It is no secret that we are one of the market leaders in the ESCO [energy services company] product market in Serbia - we have invested around ten million euros in projects, which will be returned to us through savings in electricity consumption."

The municipality of Pirot said it has had a good experience of working with Resalta on the basis of a public-private partnership agreement from 2017 to replace heating oil boilers with biomass boilers and deliver thermal energy to several schools.

"We have no information...

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