State increases stake in spa Olimia to over 98%

Ljubljana – Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) has increased the state stake in the spa company Terme Olimia to 98.25% as part of the efforts to create a state hospitality holding.

SSH acquired a further 20.64% stake in Terme Olimia in a public takeover bid that run out on Monday, according to a notice published in the newspaper Delo.

Offering EUR 27.50 per share, SSH paid EUR 4 million for the stake.

Terme Olimia runs the spa under the same name in Podčetrtek in the east of the country and the spa Terme Tuhelj across the border in Croatia.

The state had already held almost 78% in the company through SSH, Pension Fund Management (KAD), railways operator Slovenske Železnice and the Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC).

Under the national tourism development strategy, ownership and management of state-owned tourism companies is to be consolidated in a tourism holding.

Apart from Terme Olimia, the holding is to absorb Istrabenz Turizem and Thermana, both of which have been transferred to special purpose vehicles incorporated by BAMC, as well as Sava Turizem, Adria Ankaran and Hit Alpinea, the tourism arm of the gaming company Hit.

The tourism holding has been the pet project of Economy Minister Zdravko Počivalšek.

One major piece of the puzzle still missing is for the state to consolidate its ownership of Sava, the holding company that owns the tourism company Sava Turizem.

SSH and KAD own 46% of Sava, while the private equity fund York has 43%. All three are Sava creditors; roughly EUR 51 million debt left is due for payment by end of June.

SSH confirmed for Delo it was in non-binding talks with York on the conditions under which it would be willing to sell its stake in Sava.

While the SSH would not comment on details, unofficially SSH is discussing buying York’s stake as well as its EUR 6 million debt claim against Sava.

The paper says the key issue is the price. Sava’s operating results have been hurt by the Covid-19 pandemic so the state expects a lower price tag on the deal while York wants to pull out as much as possible.

Even if agreement was reached with York, SSH would still need to obtain regulatory approval to take over Sava and the Finance Ministry’s go-ahead to settle the agreed sum.