Sell off in Slovenia’s aviation sector begins
Adria Airways’ maintenance division, Adria Airways Tehnika, has been put up for sale as part of the government’s push to bring in foreign investment into Slovenia’s aviation sector. Adria sold its 100% stake in Adria Tehnika to Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport and financial holding company PDP, both of which are state owned, in 2010. The European Commission is investigating the sale of Adria Tehnika to the two companies as the transaction may have gone against European Union competition laws since all parties involved are owned and financed by the Slovenian government. The privatisation brief warns, “Potential investors have to be aware of the European Commission’s probe of PDP's and Ljubljana Airport’s compliance with the Community Guidelines on state aid for rescuing and restructuring firms in difficulty. Slovenia’s position is that the 2010 measure to recapitalise Adria Airways, as well as the buyout of Adria Airways Tehnika, are not imputable to the Republic of Slovenia and do not constitute unlawful aid”.
Adria Tehnika is not only the base maintenance provider for the Slovenian national carrier but also to SAS Scandinavian, Wizz Air, Air Méditerranée, Afriqiyah Airways, Germanwings, Air India, Austrian and several others. The company is the maintenance facility for the Bombardier CRJ100/200/700/900 aircraft and works in partnership with Air France Industries on maintenance and service checks on the A320 family of aircraft. It is Europe’s leading third party maintenance provider for CRJ100/200/700/900 jets. Tehnika’s facilities consist of the main hangar, stretching over 1.700 square meters, two new hangars, both 2.300 square metres, and workshops covering an area of 700 square metres. Under the original takeover deal with Ljubljana Airport, Tehnika’s facilities remained in ownership of Adria Airways, however, they too were sold to the airport last year.
The CEO of Ljubljana Airport, Zmago Skobir, believes the privatisation of Adria Tehnika will be completed by the spring of this year. Late last week, the Slovenian government invited all interested parties to submit their offers for a 100% takeover of the maintenance company. The government plans to sell both Ljubljana Airport and Adria Airways this year. Ljubljana Airport’s privatisation process is expected to be completed by this summer while no exact timeframe has been given on Adria’s sale.