The Slovenia Times

Elan Bidder Seeking Tie-up with Alpina


"We have Elan and we have Alpina. It makes no sense for them to be separate companies. We have the capital and the strategy is to consolidate them in the next step to create a leading global player," Boba Ing director and owner Robert Antunovič told the STA.

The Slovenian-born businessman's company made a binding offer for Elan along with Sporten, a Czech firm. While the bids have not been officially revealed, Antunovič said his company was offering EUR 15m to Elan's main creditors.

"We are offering Gorenjska banka EUR 5.5m and the Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC) EUR 9.5m. Our offer is thus EUR 15m to Sporten's EUR 10m," Antunovič said.

The sale of Elan is complicated by its debt to Gorenjska banka and BAMC as well as the demand that it return EUR 12m in state aid, hence the uncertainty over the actual purchase consideration.

Additionally, a former Elan manager, Uroš Korže, is demanding EUR 8m in bonuses.

"We have three state agencies that are the owners, two banks, the Finance Ministry, Korže...We have seven stakeholders and have spent seven months trying to find common ground," said Antunovič, disappointed at the lack of coordination.

"We have the money...It is not clear to us why the process is dragging out if we are offering five million more and have a strategy for preserving jobs."

Elan was originally supposed to return state aid by the end of last year. The deadline has been tentatively extended, though the fear remains the European Commission could send the company into bankruptcy with an immediate demand for payment.

Finance newspaper reports Tuesday that Elan has been given more time since the demand for immediate payment would destroy it. In return, the government pledged that the sale would not involve any additional state aid and would be completed in a reasonable time.

Antunovič said his company would probably give up if Elan ended up in bankruptcy. "We want Elan as it is today."

For the rival bidder Sporten, however, "bankruptcy may even be better". "We can't comprehend why the state is dragging things out. Why do they not take a decision and complete the transaction," he wondered.


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