The Slovenia Times

Economy Minister Welcomes BAMC Takeover of Hotels


"This is but the first move by the BAMC on the path to financial restructuring of the industry," he told TV Slovenija late on Saturday.

The bad bank needs to follow that up with operating restructuring, which has to involve cost cutting, upgrade of sales and promotion, and a new investment cycle. The third step is privatisation, according to the minister.

Slovenian tourism depends on foreign guests and if the share of foreign visitors is to rise above 65%, "we need to attract a foreign owner." Foreign investors will also bring new know-how, Pošivalšek said.

The statement comes after BAMC announced Friday a takeover, via debt-to-asset swaps, of several major tourism firms which operate a total of 41 hotels.

The bad bank will take direct control of hotel management through a special purpose vehicle and intends to offload the hotels in 3-5 years.

Its move has been described as unlawful by Sava, which lost its key subsidiary, Sava Turizem, in the process; BAMC has already published a takeover intent in order to take control of the less then 1% of Sava Turizem it does not already own.

The BAMC decision came as a surprise, not least because Sava was designated in the recent asset management strategy as an asset in which the state intends to keep a controlling stake.

Moreover, tourism was designated as a strategic industry for Slovenia.

Asked whether the BAMC decision ran contrary to the asset strategy, Počivalšek said it was not. "A 75% stake will still be available," he noted.


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