The Slovenia Times

Maribor airport operator sold to Chinese capital-controlled SHS Aviation


The trade union-controlled savings bank Delavska hranilnica received EUR 6m on Wednesday, adding to the EUR 1m SHS Aviation wired a part of the money through Rim Projekt, while the rest of the sum was transferred directly to Delavska hranilnica through a notary account.

While Delavska hranilnica only received EUR 7m for the operator, Večer wrote that it was a good deal, since the bank only invested around EUR 3m in the company, including a recapitalisation, since late 2014, when it acquired Aerodrom.

Touching on today's report by daily Večer that SHS Aviation was to pay Rim Projekt EUR 10m for the takeover, while the bank only got EUR 7m, Bobek said that the extra EUR 3m were held at a neutral account and would be transferred when and if Aerodrom Maribor gets a long-term lease for the airport's infrastructure.

A public call for bids was published by the Infrastructure Ministry last week and will expire at the end of January.

Should everything go as planned, Bobek believes that the extra money would be used for the development and operations of the airport. He moreover rejected the possibility of the money being used for any kind of commissions.

Bobek, who was only recently appointed a director at Aerodrom, is also the chairman of a supervisory board of the Maribor Municipality and the boss of Rim Projekt.

However, he does not see all his posts as a potential conflict of interest, because private funds by foreign investors and not public funds are involved.

Bobek moreover acknowledged that some people involved in the deal had already been a part of unsuccessful projects in Maribor, but he does not find it relevant.

While Delavska hranilnica has not officially confirmed the deal, Maribor Mayor Andrej Fištravec told the press that the bank's chairman had confirmed the transaction.

He added today was an important day for the airport, as the new owner would ensure that it would return to life after two decades of regression.

While the project may seem big already, "it is but a piece of a larger puzzle, given all that the strategic owner has planned for the airport". This would be revealed by the new owners after and if they get the 15-year lease.received as down-payment months ago, one of Aerodrom Maribor's two directors Boris Bobek told the press.


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