The Slovenia Times

SSH and Sava reportedly file separate bids for Istrabenz hotels


The Istrabenz hotels, estimated at around EUR 60m, are another important piece in the complex puzzle of the tourism assets, for which the previous government envisaged a consolidation to be followed by a gradual sale.

Sava, which has confirmed filing a separate non-binding bid, is already the largest tourism player in Slovenia and is also expanding its shareholding in another major hotel chain operator Hoteli Bernardin.

Sava is owned by Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH), the state's KAD fund and the Luxembourg-based York Fund.

Another major player in the developments is the Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC) or the bad bank, which owns the majority of Istrabenz's debt and will thus have the final say in the sale of Istrabenz's hotels Grand Hotel Portorož, Riviera, Slovenija, Apollo, Mirna and Neptun.

Sava reportedly filed the bid for Istrebenz Turizem together with KAD and the KAD-owned pension insurer Modra Zavarovalnica. What strikes the eye is that SSH filed a separate bid.

According to Siol, the list of the bidders also includes the US financial fund Bain Capital and notably the MK Group of Serbian businessman Miodrag Kostić.

Kostić had been beaten by BAMC in efforts to obtain Istrabenz's claims, he however recently received the green light to take over the Slovenian bank Gorenjska Banka, and already owns Hotel Kempinski on the Slovenian coast in Portorož and a third of the Portorož aipoirt, Siol reported.

What is more, Kostić is reportedly getting involved in the above mentioned takeover of Hoteli Bernardin.

According to Siol, the state is only 14% away from a 90% stake that would allow it to squeeze out small shareholders. Kostić is alleged to be behind a raised bid received in recent days by some of Hoteli Bernandin's small shareholders. Were he to secure more than 10%, he could thwart Sava's plans.

Siol also reports that BAMC is ready to sell its stake in Hoteli Bernandin to Sava through a forward contract in line with which Sava would secure the purchase funds within three years at the latest. BAMC is however making the deal conditional on a guarantee by Sava's owners, which SSH seems notto want to issue, Siol says.


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