The Slovenia Times

Fmr to Support Strategic Development of Publisher Delo


"We're not tycoons and we will not destroy everything," CEO Andrej Kren said.

He also stressed that the company and the members of its bodies were not "connected to any of the political parties".

Delo has been recognised as a good investment and its purchase will be financed by FMR's own funds, Kren told reporters in Idrija.

FMR sees Delo as a long-term investment and will support the publisher's strategic, staffing and technological development.

However, it expects the management, with whom FMR officials have already met, to make profit, as Delo's profitability was "one of the key reasons for the purchase", reporters heard.

"Given our line of business and financial capabilities we're constantly on a look-out for investment opportunities and we've recognised Delo as such. The due diligence showed a potential for improvement which could be achieved with our know-how and good corporate management," Kren said.

He was very upbeat about the Delo management's plans for 2015 and 2016, especially those concerning digitalisation.

"The Delo management will make sure that good foundations are created to protect and develop the independent and investigative journalism in line with the journalist code of conduct and ethics," the CEO noted.

The new owner believes its role as a financially stable owner will be to create the conditions for successful work of the management.

FMR's chief supervisor Stojan Petrič assessed the takeover as appropriate, saying that FMR disinvested to get the funds for entering the media business, which he believes will be easier to manage than industrial businesses.

Media business is new for FMR, which is a key owner of Slovenian industrial conglomerate Kolektor.

Commenting on media reports that FMR has strong ties to Petrič, the former chairman of Kolektor, Petrič said that neither Kolektor Group nor him had purchased Delo or had intended to do so.

"We're not interested in Delo in 2016, we're interested in Delo in 2020, meaning we want to know the management's vision...The management is preparing this vision. Based on it, it will say how much development funds it needs...and we will support that. We're not going to burden Delo with the purchase money but allocate most of EBITDA for Delo's development," Petrič said.

Turning to staffing, a member of the FMR management Nataša Luša asserted that there would be no illegal moves or diversions from plans. "If revenues will drop, adjustments will have to be made regarding the expenses," she explained.

Luša labelled contractual work as a problem of journalism in the entire country not just at Delo and said FMR would strive to "sort this issue in a sustainable and legal way".

The FMR still awaits a consent from the Competition Protection Office for the sale to be carried out, while other details are to be arranged by Pivovarna Laško, Luša said.

In line with the agreement with Pivovarna Laško, the supervisors of Delo will step down the day when the publisher's share are transferred to FMR.

The contract on the purchase of Slovenia's biggest print media company was signed on 3 June, which capped five years of efforts by Laško to offload the newspaper publisher.

The process has been closely watched by the journalism profession. The reactions have been apprehensive, not least due to Delo's troubled history under Laško, a period in which it witnessed turbulent editorial changes.

The publisher of the namesake daily and its tabloid cousin Slovenske novice has seen its revenues drop from EUR 54m at its peak in 2011 to EUR 46m in 2013 due the shrinking media advertising market. The company employs some 400 people.


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