|Financial investors eye majority stake in Adria|
The second privatisation attempt of Slovenia's national airline is said to have generated significant interest from potential investors, as the government seeks to sell its majority stake in the carrier. A public call for the expression of interest for a 91.58% share in the airline was published in July. Sources close to the privatisation process say the sale could be completed "in a matter of weeks" with investment funds showing the strongest interest in the carrier, which turned its first profit in seven years in 2014. The state is looking for a swift sale in order for Adria to avoid liquidity issues, which arise at the airline each winter as business slows. During the 2014/15 winter season, the carrier took out a bridging loan in order to stay afloat and concluded a sale and leaseback arrangement for two of its Bombardier CRJ900 aircraft in order to boost liquidity.
Binding offers for the majority stake are expected to be submitted no later than mid-September. However, the Slovenian Sovereign Holding, which oversees the privatisation of state-owned companies, says, “As part of the sales procedure, the financial advisor has contacted the widest possible range of potential investors from around the world. The sale of each company varies and we will not comment on a timeframe when it might be completed”. The CEO of Adria Airways, Mark Anžur, previously said it would be best to offer the carrier to small airlines or financial investors, as big European players have "problems of their own".
Adria handled 1.112.857 passengers in 2014, an increase of 8% compared to the year before, and recorded a profit of 921.123 euros. The airline carried over its distributable profit from 2014, which amounted to 895.000 euros, into accumulated earnings, in a decision taken at a shareholders' meeting this Tuesday. Adria is said to be in need of six to ten million euros in additional funds in order to expand its business, which is why the government is eager to sell its stake in the carrier as soon as possible.