Takeover intent published at Hidria amid ownership infighting
Operating through the firms Inovatis and Ladis respectively, Iztok Seljak and Dušan Lapajne published on Friday a takeover intent for all the shares of H&R, the firm controlling Hidria through the Hidria Holding.
Seljak is one of three directors of the Hidria Holding along with Urška and Gašper Svetlik, whose father Edvard Svetlik holds a 40% in the company, according to the Siol.net news portal.
Seljak and Lapanje, who control slightly under 20%, are offering 35 per share, which puts the value of the entire company at EUR 24m.
According to Siol, the scale can be tilted to either side by Andrejka Krapš Rejc, who owns slightly under 25% with her spouse but reportedly remains neutral for now.
Seljak said the move - which also suspends any buying of own shares - is part of an effort to protect the company and the remaining shareholders after he noticed in early December Urška and Gašper Svetlik buying H&R shares without informing him and some of the other shareholders.
"Being a director and therefore responsible for the legality of operations, I obtained a legal opinion that confirms my suspicions of irregularities and informed the supervisory board of Hidria Holding and the H&R management board of them," he said.
He told the STA that around EUR 250,000 worth of shares were bought after an offer of 10 euros per share, which he feels is well below the real value.
"While this means 2.5% to 3% of all shares, it can already tip the scale given the ownership structure."
Seljak is confident the developments will not affect the operations of the Idrija-based company, which "increased sales revenue to EUR 270m last year after recording EUR 255m in 2017". He said the company was looking at a potential record EUR 300m this year.
Meanwhile, Hidria said in an official response for the STA that "all companies within the corporation are consistently operating in line with the law and the principles of good corporate governance".
According to the release, there are grounds to suspect that the demands to dismiss the Hidria Holding directors and the takeover intent are coming from individuals pursuing their own personal interest and not the interests of the Hidria companies.
"We will oppose this with all legal means at our disposal," Hidria wrote.
The supervisory board of Hidria Holding, which includes Edvard Svetlik, said it found out about the takeover bid from the media. It will closely examine the matter, including the accusations, and respond in line with the law and internal rules.