|Adria’s pilots considering share acquisition as anger at management mounts|
Adria Airways’ pilots are considering purchasing a controlling stake in the national carrier, as the airline’s privatisation process advances. The Slovenian Pilots’ Union will discuss the takeover bid tomorrow, while Adria itself has refused to comment on the claims. According to the “Finance Business Daily”, pilots are seeking assistance, in from of a loan, from Slovenia’s union-owned bank, Delavska hranilica, which last year acquired a 57% stake in Maribor Edvard Rusjan Airport, “If someone comes to us for a loan to co-finance an acquisition, we will present to them our conditions”, Jože Stegne, the head of Delavska hranilica says. However, Mr. Stegne ruled out the possibility of the union-owned bank purchasing a stake in Adria itself.
Discontent among Adria’s staff has been growing. In a recent letter by the union, circulated between pilots, they accuse the management of unprofessionalism and question whether the carrier has a future. “In recent times, the actions of those responsible for running the company have brought to the point where it is questionable whether the airline has a future. The management headed by [CEO] Mark Anžur has repeatedly boasted of improving the business. However, they deny any problems, such as the lack of liquidity. Last year two aircraft were sold”, the letter reads. Earlier this week, Adria’s cabin crew said it plans to go on strike on June 1. The Cabin Crew Union notes the airline’s management has failed to respond to warnings regarding a number of workplace violations. For its part, the carrier says it will review the strike demands in the coming days and remains hopeful the action can be averted.
In January, three state-owned asset management institutions signed an agreement on the joint sale of a combined 91.58% stake in the flag carrier. Recently, the state-run Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH), which is coordinating Adria Airways’ privatisation, selected Dutch-based consulting firm KPMG as its financial advisor for the sales process. During Adria’s last privatisation attempt in 2012, a total of ten parties submitted non binding bids. Up until now, there has been no official word on who made those bids. Last year, Adria carried 1.113 million passengers and managed to emerge from the red. Its net profit topped 921.000 euros, with a net operating profit of three million euros.