The Slovenia Times

Trigranit Pulling out of Emonika Project


Finance reported that Hungarian company Trigranit has filed a demand to withdraw from the project envisaging the construction of new central train and bus terminals in the capital whose value has been set at EUR 250m-300m.

The decision follows a standstill over whether Trigranit would get a state subsidy for the project. While the government has offered to provide a subsidy, the conditions and amount are reportedly unacceptable for Trigranit.

Confirming the news, general manager of railways operator Slovenske železnice Dušan Mes told the press on Tuesday that he would like to find a solution which would enable the project to continue.

Mes assessed that the move by Trigranit amounts to a form of pressure on the state to provide the subsidy while keeping the door open for new talks. "What we are seeing is an improvement on the developments from the past three years, when the project went nowhere," said Mes.

Emonika director Csaba Toth has not commented on the latest news, while he told the STA in December that the developer lacked a binding document from the state on a subsidy. He also complained of excessive bureaucracy related to the project.

Mes believes that the situation should clear up in the coming weeks. "The best outcome would be for Trigranit, which has invested into land for the commercial part of the project, to finish its work."

Mes also said that there was not much of a gap between Trigranit's demands for the subsidy and the offer of the state. "The problem is whether Trigranit has the funds for the remainder of the project," he said.

While the project had been at a standstill for more than two years, former Economy Minister Stanko Stepišnik signalled in May that the government wanted the project to move ahead.

"The state is ready to participate in the project, but for this it must have a finalised financial plan," Stepišnik said as he announced an offer of a EUR 25m subsidy.

The subsidy was not the only stumbling block for the continuation of the project, as the developer also lacked a building permit following a dispute regarding the scope of the public part of the project which involved the railways operator and the Ljubljana municipality.

Emonika director Csaba Toth said back then that authorities have been informed that Emonika will not push ahead with obtaining the building permit until it receives compensation for the higher costs of the public part of the project and until the conditions set down in the 2007 contract on the public-private venture are restored.

Responding to the report in Finance, Ljubljana Mayor Zoran Janković compared the Emonika project to that of the Stožice sporting and shopping complex, where private investor Delta pulled out of the commercial project after failing to secure sufficient interest from potential shop-owners.

Janković said it was therefore unfair of the director of Emonika to criticise Slovenia for being unwelcome to foreign investment as a result.


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