|Intro Aviation seen as strong contender for Adria stake|
The German-based specialist turnaround consultant, Intro Aviation, is believed to have put in a bid to acquire a 91.58% stake in Adria Airways, EX-YU Aviation News learns. It is the second time the company has been eyeing shares in the Slovenian carrier, as Intro Aviation is said to have placed one of the strongest bids for the airline during its first, failed, privatisation attempt three years ago. Intro Aviation is a consultancy firm which has turned around several loss making carriers, including NFD (presently known as Eurowings), as well as dBa and LTU International Airlines, which have since been integrated into Air Berlin. Its latest acquisition includes the Air France subsidiary CityJet. The company specialises in buying airlines, improving their finances and business and then selling them.
Adria Airways' CEO, Mark Anžur, says the deadline for the submission of binding bids for a majority stake in Adria has passed, adding that the sale should be finalised "in a few months". "Some offers have been received but I do not know much about them. Everything will come down to negotiations with potential investors", Mr Anžur says. Adria's CEO previously noted it would be best to offer the carrier to small airlines or financial investors, as big European players have "problems of their own". The Slovenian Sovereign Holding, which oversees the privatisation of state-owned assets, 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 the acquisition might be completed”.
Adria faces a difficult winter ahead as it deals with liquidity issues during the slow months. Mr Anžur says the carrier will persevere by taking out additional loans and selling property. "For us it is nothing new", the CEO notes. During the first eight months, Adria recorded a 16% increase in passenger numbers compared to the same period last year. A 10% rise in passengers was recorded at its main hub in Ljubljana. However, Mr Anžur says that the autumn period will determine the carrier's annual financial performance. The Slovenian Ministry of Finance recently said it was aware of liquidity problems at Adria. However, while the airline admits it is "in need of fresh funds as winter remains a problem due to a weaker performance", it added it has "no problems with liquidity".