ZAGREB (Croatia), May 22 (SeeNews) - The Croatian government said on Thursday it has decided to merge state-owned motorway operator Hrvatske Autoceste (HAC) and its subsidiary Autocesta Rijeka-Zagreb (ARZ), which would make it possible to cancel the only bridge toll tax currently paid in the country.
The merger will establish a sustainable business model by achieving the synergy effects needed for the optimisation of costs, the government said in a statement after a regular meeting.
It will allow for scrapping the toll tax on a bridge that connects mainland Croatia and the country's biggest island of Krk as of June 15 and will facilitate the planned introduction of a new toll system on the country's motorways, transport minister Oleg Butkovic said in the same statement.
The merger between HAC and ARZ has been planned for several years, but an agreement had to be reached with the international lenders of the two companies, Butkovic said earlier this week.
The Krk bridge toll tax generates some 50-60 million kuna ($7.2-8.7 million/6.6-7.9 million euro) annually in revenues, he added.
According to Butkovic, the total debt of the country's road sector is some 5 billion euro ($5.5 billion).
(1 euro = 7.58070 kuna)