Bad bank offering EUR 5.35m for outstanding Mladinska stock

Ljubljana – The Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC) has published a takeover bid for Mladinska Knjiga, Slovenia’s largest publisher, offering EUR 8.90 per share or roughly EUR 5.35 million for the 48.77% stake it does not hold already.

BAMC is offering to pay for the shares in cash with the offer standing from 30 March to 3 May. The bid, published in the newspaper Delo on Tuesday, does not set any threshold at which the bid would be deemed successful.

The bad bank acquired its majority stake in Mladinska Knjiga through a debt-to-equity conversion in 2016, having taken over the non-performing claims from the banks NLB and Abanka during the 2013 bank bailout.

It holds 51.23% in Mladinska, with the second largest shareholder, holding a 17.8% stake, being TCK, a successor to Hypo’s bad bank Heta now owned by the Serbian businessman Miodrag Kostić. A further 3.3% are own shares, it follows from Erar, the online app tracking financial transactions of public institutions and state-owned companies.

At BAMC’s request, the management of Mladinska Knjiga called a shareholders’ meeting for 28 April to take a vote on dismissing Andrej Božič from the supervisory board and appointing Jože Možina, Matej Pirc and Nina Marin to the board.

The six-strong supervisory board includes four representatives of the capital. Those are currently only Božič and Peter Kavčič after Žiga Gregorinčič resigned in October 2021 and Pirc’s term ended last month.

Možina, a historian, sociologist and journalist, is employed with the public broadcaster RTV Slovenija and in 2006-2010 served as TV Slovenija director. He is also vice-president of the Association of Journalists and Commentators (ZNP), the younger of two rival journalist associations in the country.

“His basic guiding principle is the interests of the Slovenian state in the field of economy and the broader social area in particular in culture,” reads the explanation for the proposed nomination.

Pirc is an economist currently serving as an executive director at BAMC and has years-long experience of corporate management and oversight as well as of risk management and business and financial restructuring.

Marin is a jurist currently employed as a secretary at the office of finance minister and interim head of the Financial Ministry’s legal service.

She is also CEO of Istrabenz and serves on the supervisory boards of the National Housing Fund and the railway company’s subsidiary SŽ ŽGP. As a junior lawyer she worked for the law firm of Franci Matoz, the chairman of the board of directors of BAMC.

The Mladinska Knjiga group, which includes the Slovenian publishing and bookshop business plus subsidiaries in Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina and North Macedonia, posted revenue of EUR 60.5 million in 2020, the latest year for which data is available, down 12% over 2019, and a net profit that declined by 41% to EUR 75,000.