The Slovenia Times

Maribor Ski Resort with Uncertain Future


The administration proceedings will allow the healthy parts of ŠC Pohorje to be made operational for the winter season, Vtič Vraničar said in a statement, following weeks of speculation about the future of the operator at the Pohorje slopes.

Vtič Vraničar said that the company had spent three months looking for solutions to keep the business going, including leasing out infrastructure or obtaining a cash injection from the city municipality or a strategic partner.

With none of the options materialising, the company has opted for administration, whereby the Bank Asset Management Company (BAMC), which has a stake in the company through bad loans it took over from the banks, will assume control of the hotels.

"Unfortunately our efforts were unsuccessful...The offers by potential investors who expressed interest were either not serious or they just didn't have the financial means to carry through with them," said Vtič Vraničar.

ŠC Pohorje has been facing financial troubles ever since the disastrous winter season of 2013-14, when there was almost no snow. The company generated revenues of only EUR 3.5m so far this year, reporting a net loss of EUR 4m.

Facing blocked accounts and an inability to meet past commitments, Vtič Vraničar said the company had no option but to file for administration.

This leaves an uncertain future for around 100 staff, who are owed pay for recent months, which has prompted trade unions to issue an angry response.

"It seems the easiest thing in Slovenia is to file for administration and forget about the obligations to workers," the ZSSS confederation and the Trade Union of Hospitality and Tourism (SGiT) said in a statement.

SGiT head Kristijan Lasbaher said he feared that administration was actually a covert way of bankruptcy: "We all know where administration usually leads."

The company responded to the complaints by saying that the welfare of staff will be high on the agenda of efforts aimed at rescuing the company, adding that BAMC has provided money for payment of back wages.

Moreover, assistance from BAMC has allowed the company to meet its basic liabilities, including for electricity and maintenance, so that it will not have to be shut for the upcoming winter.

However, not everyone is satisfied with the actions of BAMC, as the city authorities say it is to blame for the company going into administration in the first place. "This decision will harm tourism in Maribor," the Maribor Municipality said.

The municipality alleged that BAMC had been unwilling to find a solution together with the company and city authorities that would allow the company to be bailed out to the benefit to all.

"It appears that they have come to the conclusion that they will be able to raise more from bankruptcy and the recovery of guarantees than by selling or leasing out the company's infrastructure."

However, the city believes that BAMC is ignoring the harm that this will cause to tourism in Slovenia's second city. Mayor Andrej Fištravec announced he would call a session of the city council to debate a response, while demanding action from the state.

Pohorje is located on the western edge of Maribor, Slovenia's second-largest city, and is best known for being an annual host of the women's World Cup slalom and giant slalom competitions.


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