The Slovenia Times

Croatian owner reportedly selling four Portorož hotels


Portorož - Croatian businessman Darko Ostoja is allegedly selling four hotels in Portorož, Slovenia's best known seaside resort, that he acquired in 2014. According to a report Delo, a Slovenian insurance group has indicated interest in buying the hotels.

Ostoja, one of the wealthiest Croatians, bought the four-hotel Metropol Resort in 2014 from Hoteli Bernardin, the hotel chain that is part of the tourism group Sava, for EUR 24.5 million but is now looking to sell for much more, writes Delo.

According to the paper, an intermediary visited Skupina Prva, an insurance group, in January inquiring whether they might be interested in buying the resort. Delo says Prva confirmed it was interested in the deal, but the company would not comment when approached about the matter.

The resort comprises the five-star Grand Hotel Metropol and three-star hotels Roža, Lucija and Barbara, with a combined 461 rooms.

Since passing into Ostoja's hands the hotels had seen a rather grim fate, with none of the promised investments, and they hand been closed even at the height of the tourism season, Delo notes.

Delo writes that Ostoja has also sold his hotels in Croatia's Opatija to the company owned by the Germany family Lürssen.

The Metropol Resort sale is cited by tourism staff and trade unions as an example of how selling tourism assets to foreigners may go wrong at a time when the Luxembourg-based York fund is about to sell its 43% stake in Sava to a Hungarian asset manager.

Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) and Pension Fund Management (KAD), which hold a combined 47% in Sava, have until the end of the month to decide whether they will exercise their pre-emptive right to York's stake.

Be it the Hungarian fund or the state-run owners, the acquisition will need a regulatory approval, which Delo writes cannot be taken for granted and the state might be required to commit to sell part of Sava assets later or lease them to be managed by third parties.

The paper writes that the concentration issue would be less of a problem if the stake in Sava was acquired by KAD alone, in conjunction with its subsidiary Modra Zavarovalnica, which manages the top-up pension fund of public sector employees.

Unofficial information cited by Delo has it that Modra Zavarovalnica made a bid to SSH to buy its 18.7% stake in Sava and pre-emptive right a month ago, but SSH declined the offer.


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