|Company submits offer for a stake in Adria|
A company has submitted an offer to purchase a stake in Slovenia’s national carrier Adria Airways, the country’s Central Ownership Entity (SOD) has confirmed. The offer was submitted on February 28, 2014. The bidder expressed interest to invest in Adria if the airline’s debts to various banks were written off by the state. Since then, the SOD forwarded the non binding bid to the Bank Assets Management Company (DUTB) for further scrutiny. The DUTB ultimately rejected the offer. It found the state could not influence banks to write off debt to the national carrier. In addition, the bidder requested for the airline’s state aid issues, which are being discussed at the European Commission, to be resolved.
Neither the Central Ownership Entity, nor the Bank Assets Management Company, wanted to reveal the name of the investor and the contents of their offer. The bid comes as a surprise since Slovenia has not begun formal procedures for Adria’s privatisation. However, the sale process has been scheduled for this summer, following the European Commission’s June ruling on whether the Slovenian carrier received state aid for several years, contrary to EU regulations. Adria, together with Ljubljana Airport, form part of the fifteen state owned companies which have been earmarked for sale in order to kick start the local economy.
Around the time an offer for a stake in Adria was made, in February, the Slovenian Prime Minister, Alenka Bratušek, said, “We're making good progress with [Adria’s] sales negotiations. There will be no delays". However, the process could be postponed with the prospect of early elections being raised. Over the weekend, the Prime Minister lost the leadership battle within her party and has said she can no longer govern the country. The Prime Minister has been instrumental in the sale of state owned companies over the past year. So far, China Southern Airlines has been rumoured as a potential investor not only in Adria but in Ljubljana Airport as well.