|Three German investment funds in race for Adria stake|
Three Germen investment companies, Intro Aviation, 4K Invest and Callisto, are vying to purchase a 91.58% stake in Slovenia's national carrier Adria Airways. According to public broadcaster "RTV SLO", a fourth bid was initially made by Spanish airline Binter Canarias, however, the carrier has since withdrawn its offer. However, the three German-based companies are also seeking talks with Adria's creditors and requesting for some of the airline's debt to be written off. Marko Jazbec, the head of the Slovenian Sovereign Holding, which oversees the privatisation of state-owned assets, says, "Some of Adria's debts could be written off or reprogrammed. Through this privatisation process we will prevent Adria Airways' bankruptcy". The Slovenian carrier is tipped to record a five million euro net loss by the end of the year, according to "RTV SLO", following a profit of 921.123 euros in 2014.
Last month, EX-YU Aviation News learnt of Intro Aviation's interest in Adria. The German-based specialist turnaround consultant, 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. Simmilarly, the Munich-based 4K Invest specialises in acquiring medium and large-sized companies with a poor operating performance.
Spanish regional airline, Binter Canarias, operating from the Canary Islands, has reportedly withdrawn its bid for the Slovenian carrier. Binter, once an Iberia subsidiary, boasts a fleet of nineteen regional aircraft - ATRs and CRJ900s - with a further eleven ATR72-600s on order. Adria's CEO, Mark Anžur, previously said, "Some offers have been received but I do not know much about them. Everything will come down to negotiations with potential investors". He added that it would be best to offer the carrier to small airlines or financial investors, as big European players have "problems of their own". Last year, Slovenia sold a 100% stake in Ljubljana Jože Pučnik Airport's operator to Germany's Fraport.
Meanwhile, Adria's management yesterday resumed negotiations with pilots over an impasse in the ongoing collective bargaining talks. It marked the first meeting between the two sides since the Pilots' Trade Union last week called for a strike on November 30. Although the management hopes to avoid possible industrial action, the two sides are said to have agreed on the minimum working conditions required during the strike which has been scheduled to run from 05.00 until midnight. Adria has offered its pilots a 7.3% salary increase and more flexible workplace terms in order to boost productivity. On the other hand, the union is demanding a larger wage hike and for the management to tackle violations of the cancelled collective agreement, which continues to be enforced until a new one is negotiated.