In 1974 ,as a very young man of 22, Ilija Dević started his private business by founding SZR (CRAFTSHOP) “MAN“ which was manufacturing spare parts for the road and freight transport commercial programme as well as spare parts for the construction machines.

SZR“MAN“ was the leader in supplying of ex SFRY market with spare parts.

Since the market demands exceeded capacity of the crafshop, the shop was transformed into a factory for manufacturing of spare parts, and in 1992 became the company „MANCOOP“ Belgrade.

The founder and owner of „MANCOOP“ D.O.O. from Belgrade is Ilija Dević.

 “MANCOOP” was dealing with manufacturing of spare parts for the commercial programme, i.e. parts of gears, differentials and PTOs. Besides, from 1992 it began to sell the engine spare parts, brakes and pneumatics for which he was an authorized dealer of several reputable German, Poland and other companies on the market of Serbia and Montenegro.

The idea to buy the company ATP”Vojvodina” was a logical result of his business activities and he started negotiations with the company “EvoBus” about authorized dealership of their brands “SETRA” and “MERCEDES” as well as about concluding a contract for the authorized service for both brands.



On 27 July, 2004, he bought the capital of ATP”Vojvodina”a.d. from Novi Sad with his own money in the public competition in the Agency for Privatization.

There were six competitors at the competition. It is interesting that some of them were those who managed dirty money and who were prosecuted later on.

Dević offered the price of 290,000.000 dinars which was until then the most expensive transport company bought in the process of privatization. 

What he found was a weary company with 100 buses out of which 35 were out of order, and all the activities were done with 65 buses. Debt of ATP”Vojvodina” was about 1,000.000 Euros for spare parts, fuel, service and reparation of the buses.

He complied with his obligations towards the Agency completely and timely; he employed 200 new workers so total number of the employees was 500; he brought new buses to the company, expanded the activities and improved quality of the services offered to the customers.

In the first month he bought 14 SETRA and MERCEDES buses, enlarged the vehicle fleet, repaired 27 buses with spare parts from his mother company “MANCOOP”, and in the following year he bought another 16 buses: total number of the new SETRA and MERCEDES buses was 30.

There were about 110 buses in ATP”Vojvodina”; half of the number was covering the lines in domestic transport and the other half was used as buses for free tours (tourist) and the international lines.

During the first year he invested 1,000.000 Euros into the business and fulfilled his obligation from the contract with the Agency for Privatization. 

Ilija Dević was the owner of 82% of  ATP”Vojvodina” company.

ATP”Vojvodina” Investment

EVOBUS company (SETRA and MERCEDES) made the offer to Ilija Dević to conclude a contract on selling and servicing of “SETRA” and “MERCEDES” buses. That demanded building of a new and modern service for the buses in accordance with all their and the world standards. 

ATP”Vojvodina” did not have any property which could be pledged with business banks.  Ilija Dević decided to guarantee for the whole investment in ATP”Vojvodina” with the property of his mother companies “MANCOOP” D.O.O. and “MANCOOP AGRAR” D.O.O. as well as with his personal property, because ATP”Vojvodina” had the capital which consisted of ramshackle buildings, old buses and the lines which were concession, so they could not be pledged with the business banks.

He invested into “EvoBus” service which was planned to be the best service in South East Europe with the appropriate logistic support. 

It was not easy to do that!

He even had to send his workers to extra training and specializations. 27 workers were trained in accordance with the highest standards of “EvoBus” from Ulm; the trainings were organized in the Ulm School Centre every month, and Ilija Dević was the one who financed and organized everything.

During the first two years, ATP Vojvodina owned and managed by Ilija Dević achieved excellent business results, much better than the ones he had found in the beginning. The workers were well paid and the business was running smoothly and successfully. 

In 2003 the annual profit was 2, 3 million Euros.

In 2004 the annual profit was 5, 6 million Euros.

In 2005 the annual profit was 8, 9 million Euros.

In 2006 the annual profit was 10 million Euros.

Ilija Dević  did not even think about building of the bus station in Novi Sad.

He knew that the City of Novi Sad was having problems with the old bus station and that it was looking for a solution.

 The essence of the problem was the fact that a bus station must be at a place which is in the city but not in its very centre in order to relieve the traffic in the centre and to take care of the environment protection. On the other side, the bus station was to have a good approach from all directions, without burdening the city traffic.

 Ground covering the area of 30.000 m2 was necessary for a bus station in Novi Sad. The location at which was ATP Vojvodina had all characteristics necessary for a new bus station with complete auto-centre.

Ilija Dević sent the Letter on Intentions to the City of Novi Sad. Soon after sending the letter to the City of Novi Sad whose mayor in that time was Maja Gojković, a reply arrived saying that the offer was accepted. Short negotiations followed and they were organized on demand of the City of Novi Sad which required designing of the project comprehensive feasibility study.  Designing of the study lasted for a rather long time and it was made by the Traffic Engineering Faculty from Belgrade. The City   demanded financing of the study by ATP”Vojvodina”. ATP”Vojvodina” paid all the study expenses.

After it had been completed, the City demanded changing of the Urban Development Plan and it also demanded declaration of the City Assembly on that issue. The City Assembly voted and accepted the changes in the Urban Development Plan; the plan said that the new bus station in Novi Sad would be built on the very location of ATP Vojvodina. 

During the negotiations, talks, written correspondence, nobody never mentioned that two bus stations for intercity and international traffic would exist. If that had ever been mentioned, ILIJA DEVIĆ would have never started the investment. ATP”Vojvodina”, its workers and Ilija Dević were working very well,they were earning and making their livings in transport business and they should have lived even better with the service. The bus station was a solution for the problem of the City of Novi Sad, not of ATP Vojvodina. 

Naturally, every businessman, including Ilija Dević dreams about expanding of his business, employing of new workers and that is why the idea of new bus station was a challenge for him. 

When the urban planning conditions were changed, publishing of that decision in the Official Gazette was an issue to be waited for; after that, there was a period of 30 days during which everybody could dispute the decision on the changes in the Urban Development Plan.  Nobody has ever started any procedure to abolish the decision.

After all the above mentioned issues, the contract between ATP”Vojvodina” and the City of Novi Sad was signed on 8 May, 2006. 

The bus station in Novi Sad was a big business, but primarily financial challenge. It was necessary to provide credits. ATP Vojvidina had nothing that could give guarantees for the credits. Before Ilija Dević bought ATP Vojvodina, the entire property of it was 2 do 3 million Euros worth. 

As a unique example in the process of domestic privatization,  the guarantees were given for ATP”Vojvodina”  by Ilija Dević  and who guaranteed  with his mother companies “MANCOOP” D.O.O ,  “MANCOOP AGRAR” as well as with his personal property. 

 “Credit Agricole bank” specially controlled the entire documentation and the issues which were also specially controlled were the correspondence with the City of Novi Sad and the contract on building the bus station. In the end, “Credit Agricole “bank itself addressed the authorized bodies of the City of Novi Sad.  

After all the checkings, “Credit Agricole” bank gave the credit to ATP”Vojvodina”.

ILIJA DEVIĆ as the head of  ATP”Vojvodina” fulfilled o=all the articles from the contract, but the City of Novi Sad did not fulfill theirs. They have never replaced the intercity and international traffic to the new bus station in Novi Sad. (the mayor of the City of Novi Sad was informed about all these facts in the letter sent on the demand for fulfillment of the obligations from the contact no.II-020-2/2006-770 concluded on 8 may 2006.


ATP “Vojvodina“ looked like this

before being privatized


ATP“Vojvodina“ looks like this

after being privatized


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