The Slovenia Times

Istrabenz Turizem shares transferred onto bad bank


The transaction was first reported by the newspaper Delo today, and the bad bank later confirmed for the STA that it was carried out on Monday.

The Istrabenz holding said that BAMC took control of 908,413 or all shares of its tourism division Istrabenz Turizem as compensation for the due liabilities secured by the company's stock.

The holding added in a press release that the transaction "settles the claims that BAMC had against Istrabenz".

The government tasked BAMC to seize Istrabenz Turizem's stock on 14 February, when the bad bank was in the midst of selling the company.

At the time, the government said the decision was motivated by Istrabenz violating agreements on financial restructuring.

But only a week later Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek explained BAMC had wanted to sell Istrabenz Turizem "too fast and too cheaply to a wrong owner".

He said BAMC had not acted in line with the 2017-2021 tourism strategy, which envisages a consolidation and restructuring of the country's tourism industry.

One of the investors interested in the Portorož hotels was Serbian businessman Miodrag Kostić.

The government is now expected to discuss the investment plan for Istrabenz Turizem, which Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) sent it for approval last week.

Delo said it was not yet known when the government would debate the plan. But once it is endorsed, a special company will be set up and Istrabenz Turizem shares transferred onto it.

The newspaper also reported it was possible that several other tourism companies would be transferred onto this special purpose vehicle.

It added, citing unofficial information, the government would like to bring a total of eight companies - Istrabenz Turizem, Sava Turizem, Hoteli Bernadin, Adria Turistično Podjetje, HIT, Thermana, Unitur and Terme Olimia - under one wing.

Once this company is established, the government will try to find it a new owner with a public offering or recapitalisation, according to Delo.

Economy Ministry State Secretary Metod Dragonja said the state would not be involved directly, but its investment funds could.

According to Delo, the government is expected to reach the final decision by mid-June, when SSH's annual tourism management plan is to be adopted.

The annual audited business report released by Istrabenz Group today shows that Istrabenz Turizem generated EUR 2m in net profit and EUR 7m in EBITDA last year, up 23% and 8%, respectively from 2017.

The number of nights spent by visitors dropped by 2%, but the prices of services rose by 5%. Istrabenz Turizem accounted for virtually all of Istrabenz Group's revenue, which rose by 3% to EUR 30.63m.

Istrabenz Group posted a net loss of EUR 1.97m, up from EUR 728,000 in 2017, which was the result of the EUR 3.72m loss generated by the parent company Istrabenz.

With the Istrabenz Tourizem stock's transfer to the bad bank, Istrabenz Group is most likely headed for a receivership. At the end of 2018 it had a financial debt of EUR 145m and EUR 68m in negative capital.


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