|Government to make second attempt at selling Adria Airways|
The privatisation of Slovenia’s national carrier, Adria Airways, is set to begin next month, the Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SDH), which manages the sale of state-owned assets, has confirmed. It will mark the second time the country has attempted to sell its national carrier, with the first back in 2012 producing no results. Earlier this year, the now former Slovenian Prime Minister, Alenka Bratušek, said Adria would be sold by the end of 2014. However, these plans will not materialise as SDH says a new privatisation advisor will first have to be selected before the actual sales process begins in early 2015.
Adria’s last privatisation attempt in 2012 was shrouded in secrecy. In August 2012, the government offered 74.8% of the airline’s shares and interested parties had until September that year to submit non binding bids. The Assets Management Agency (AUKN) confirmed that ten parties submitted non binding offers but declined to give out their names. Up until now there has been no official information given on who submitted their offers nor has the privatisation attempt officially been declared a failure. It is believed that Welcome Air, a small Austrian-based airline operating two turboprop aircraft and the Dutch company Panta Holdings, which in 2012 purchased the German airline OLT Express (which has since gone bankrupt), were amongst the bidders. Also rumoured to have been interested was Germany’s Intro Aviation, a consultancy firm which has turned around several loss making airlines, including NFD (presently known as Eurowings) as well as dBa and LTU International Airlines, which have since been integrated into Air Berlin.
Earlier this year, Adria Ariways’ CEO, Mark Anžur, said the company could expand without a strategic partner. Over the summer, Mr. Anžur said, “It is hard to find a buyer for the airline”. The words were echoed by the Slovenian Ministry for Infrastructure and Spatial Planning, which said Adria already has strategic partners since it is a member of Star Alliance and added that Adria can operate successfully independently. However, Adria has performed worse than expected this year and has run into liquidity problems this winter despite selling some of its aircraft and attempting to expand and open up bases beyond its borders. So far, the government has successfully privatised Ljubljana Airport’s operator Aerodrom Ljubljana and is finalising the sale of maintenance company Adria Airways Tehnika, which is no longer a subsidiary of Adria Airways.