Two SSH board members, supervisor resign over sale of venture capital fund

Ljubljana – Two members of the management board of Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) and a member of the supervisory board of the state asset custodian have resigned over irregularities established in the sale of a 49% stake in the venture capital fund Meta Ingenium.

SSH said in a press release on Tuesday that the supervisory board had established “certain departures from the standards and procedures of SSH” in the sale of the minority stake in Meta Ingenium.

Management board members Boštjan Koler and Boris Medica as well as supervisory board member Igor Kržan thus resigned in what was a mutual agreement with SSH, the release added.

The three-member SSH management board is presided by Janez Žlak, while the supervisory board features five members and is chaired by Karmen Dietner.

It was reported by the newspaper Finance in early November that SSH had sold in late July its 49% stake in Meta Ingenium, which at the time owned a 10.8% stake in the Ajdovščina-based biotechnology company Bia Separations.

Bia Separations was in turn acquired by the German biopharma company Sartorius for EUR 360 million in October. Had it sold later, SSH would get EUR 18 million rather than EUR 3.1 million for its stake in Bia Separations, the paper said.

SSH said today Koler and Medica were leaving the holding as of 31 January, while Kolar, who had been interim president of the management board at the time of the sale, had resigned effective today.

The supervisory board will prepare a proposal for the current management board advisor Vanessa Grmek to be appointed a management board member by court until new full-fledged members are appointed, the release said.

“The supervisory board of SSH has established that additional measures are needed for ensuring professional competence and elimination of risks in the field of capital investment management.”

The supervisors also informed the management board today that in the sale of Meta Ingenium, due care for all procedures to be correct had not been observed nor had been the greatest possible economic interest for the state.

“SSH could have … acquired additional information about the operation of Bia Separations that would justify higher expected proceeds from the state-owned stake in the sale procedure.”

An internal audit is being carried out at SSH in order to establish possible mistakes in the work of specialist services and a plan to reform the system of disposal and evaluation of assets is in the making, the press release added.