The Slovenia Times

Stake in Trimo on Sale


Probanka, a small Maribor-based bank which has played a prominent role in several management buyouts, received the shares as collateral for a loan to Trimo Investment, a buyout vehicle established by Trimo managers.

The bank will be selling the stake in a public auction on 17 July at an asking price of EUR 3.8m.

The news of the auction follows media reports about increasing frictions between Trimo lenders, which want to convert debt into equity, and the company's management, who reportedly refuse to cede control.

Trimo CEO Tatjana Fink has reportedly refused bank demands to convert debt, or appoint a procurator, a special authorized representatives with power of procuration who can override management decisions.

They decided to take control of the indebted company, seeking to get 75% of voting rights, after a moratorium on the repayment of loan principals expired on 30 June.

The STA has learnt that the standoff has left Trimo without bank guarantees that are key to winning major contracts.

The MBO vehicle Trimo Investment is the majority shareholder of the company (57.1%), with Fink reportedly directly holding 12.3% of the stock.

Trimo and Trimo Investment are said to have EUR 65m in outstanding bank debt, according to information obtained by the STA.

The privately-held company has not yet disclosed results for 2012, but unofficial information indicates it will post heavy losses due to write-downs.

With the help of banks, including Abanka, the management buyout was carried out in 2006, at the peak of the business cycle and the apex of buyout activity in general.

Several buyouts carried out at or around that time have failed spectacularly, including that of beverage group Pivovarna Laško, hardware chain Merkur and conglomerate Istrabenz.

These and other failed buyouts are also among the key reasons for the current woes of the banking system and the non-performing loans on their balance sheets.

Banks heavily financed MBOs but managers were unable to continue paying down the loans after the financial and economic crisis hit in 2008.


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