The Slovenia Times

CFO Says Helios Looking for Investor


He denied rumours that Ring was planning on selling the company in an interview with Saturday's issue of the daily Delo. The daily Dnevnik reported on Thursday that the Austrians are looking for a new owner due to disagreements with the US fund Blackstone, which together with the Franklin Tempelton fund financed the EUR 106m takeover, but Kubala denied this. Kubala repeated the words of Ring CEO Gerald Martens, who said that the Austrian group was looking for an investor due to a planned expansion into western Europe. He denied any disagreements, saying that Helios was posting very good results, which was why Remho, the company from the Ring International group which owns Helios, wanted to expand business. However, under the deal on the financing of the takeover, it cannot increase its debt for three years. Remho therefore needs a partner that would provide the necessary capital and enable a change in the financing structure, Kubala said, adding that there was much interest for cooperation among international financial funds. "This will enable us to buy companies and grow. We are eyeing western Europe...We would like to buy something in Germany or Switzerland and reduce Helios's dependence on the eastern markets." The goal is for the company to generate EUR 1bn in revenues, he said. Kubala also noted that Helios's results had exceeded expectations. Despite the difficult situation in Slovenia and the crises in Ukraine and Russia, the company's earnings before income tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) topped EUR 34m in 2014, up 50% from 2013. The first quarter this year was "very difficult" but the second shows improvement, he said. In the first half-year, Helios managed to increase EBITDA from last year's EUR 17m to EUR 23m. Net profit in the first six months reached EUR 12m. At the start of talks on Helios sale, the company's debt revolved around EUR 100m and at the end of this June it almost halved to EUR 57m, according to Kubala. He expects this figure to drop below EUR 50m by the end of the year. The CFO attributes the good results to synergies between Ring and Helios in supply, changes in margins, increased production efficiency and cost cutting. Asked whether this included lay-offs, he said that since the ownership change, the number of staff in Slovenia had been reduced by 70 but some 20 new people had been meanwhile employed. Kubala also said that Helios had paid out EUR 15m in dividends to Remho last year and a similar figure was expected this year. But Helios and Remho are a part of the same group and Remho did not pay out any dividends, he added.


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