The Slovenia Times

Company Profile - Sports Equipment Maker Elan


Elan has winter sports, maritime, wind energy and sporting equipment divisions, the latter specialising in outfitting sports halls.

It is best known for its skis, where it had a global market share of 8.5% in 2012 with its own brand according to own estimates, down from 8.8% in 2011. Its key markets are Eastern Europe, Germany, Canada and Japan.

Skis, own-brand and other brands, accounted for just under half of revenue in 2012. The maritime division contributed around 13% of total revenue.

Elan is considered to be among the most innovative ski companies in the world and pioneered the use of parabolic-shaped carving skis, which were developed in-house in 1988.

The company branched out into wind energy in 2009. Leveraging know-how on composites, it produces segments for wind turbines for its German partner Siemens Wind Power.

The wind division currently accounts for only a fraction of total revenue but is seen as a potential growth market given the declining winter-sports business.

Elan was privatised in the early 1990s and struggled for much of the decade under the ownership of the Croatian bank Privredna Banka Zagreb (PBZ).

In 2000 the bank wanted to get rid of the non-performing company and the Slovenian Export Corporation bought it in a debt-to-equity conversion in bid to save 750 jobs in Slovenia.

The company struggled to stay afloat for much of the decade and was embroiled in series of management and ownership changes (though remaining firmly under state control) that failed to produce a turnaround.

In 2008 the state supplied a EUR 10m capital injection that was subsequently declared as illegal state aid by the European Commission.

Elan was ordered to pay back the money but when it missed the June 2013 deadline, Slovenia achieved a deferral until the company is privatised.

Given the company's uncertain financial position and considerable financial liabilities, it has long been assumed that the best the government can hope for is to extract enough money to get the EUR 10m back.

Several half-hearted attempts were made over the years to sell the company, but bids from rival sports makers were rejected for fear of losing jobs in Slovenia, leaving mostly portfolio investors.

The last privatisation attempt failed in April 2012, when London-based buyout fund Argus Capital revoked its offer of EUR 1m plus a EUR 15m recapitalisation.

The company, based at the village of Begunje na Gorenjskem in the north-west, issued a new call for bids in July 2013. It had not disclosed any information but unofficial reports suggested that negotiations were ongoing with two bidders.

At the beginning of 2015, Czech sports equipment producer Sporten and American businessman of Slovenian descent Robert Antunovič were being mentioned as the most serious buyers.

However, the Bank Asset Management Company (BAMC) sold in the spring EUR 14.3m in its claims to Elan to Merrill Lynch International Limited, the wealth management division of Bank of America.

On July 30, Merrill Lynch acquired a 5% stake in Elan, while the Cyprus-based Wiltan Enterprises, which is owned by Russian venture capital fund VR Capital, acquired the remaining 95% stake. More than 49% in Elam was sold by the Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH).


Financials (in EUR million):

                                             2012        2013       2014
Net sales revenue           77.66        67.96      cca 70
Net profit/loss                    -1.8          -1.38       cca 1
Financial liabilities           34.56         26.27          --

Major partners at the end of 2013

SSH* 49.03%
Triglav naložbe 25.05%
DSU* 17.34%
Modra zavarovalnica* 8.57%

* state-owned

Type of incorporation: limited liability company

Chairwoman: Andreja Košir (since October 2011)


Source: company annual reports, Agency for Legal Records and Related Services (AJPES), Supervizor application of the Corruption Prevention Commission, STA wire, reports in the newspapers Dnevnik, Finance


More from Nekategorizirano