Binding bids for Slovenia’s Cimos to be disclosed in mid February

By bne IntelliNews February 16, 2016

Binding bids for Slovenian automotive components manufacturer Cimos Group could be disclosed within the next few days, as the deadline for binding bids for a 92.3% stake in the company being sold by several state-controlled companies is to expire, local media reported.

Cimos has been a leading Slovenian exporter for decades, and is one of the companies earmarked for privatisation by the government. The company was brought back from the brink of bankruptcy in a €169mn debt-to-equity conversion last year, which brought it under majority state ownership. Slovenian Press Agency (STA) reported on February 15 that the conclusion of the privatisation process is vital for Cimos’ continued operation.

Cimos shareholders put up for sale a 92.3% stake in August since the company had been facing financial problems for the last few years due to an inability to re-pay bank loans, Slovenian daily Delo reported on August 18.

The stake in Cimos is being sold by the Bank Asset Management Company (47.5%), Slovenian Sovereign Holding on behalf of the state (24.26%) and banks NLB (9.44%), Gorenjska banka (5.74%), Abanka Vipa (2.42%), NKBM (2.2%) and SID banka (0.74%).

Back in November 2015, Cimos’ management said they expected the company would get a new owner by the end of the first quarter of 2016 at the latest, STA said.

Bosnian businessman Nijaz Hastor, Spanish CIE Automotive, French Maike Automotive, US fund Sun Capital Partners and one other investor have submitted non-binding bids for Cimos, Slovenian daily Dnevnik reported on November 21.

Hastor, who last year acquired a Cimos subsidiary in Bosnia's Srebrenica, is said to have filed the best bid.

Cimos is based in the coastal town of Koper in southwestern Slovenia, and employs around 2,000 people. One of the biggest industrial groups in the country, it is undergoing operational restructuring.

In the first nine months of 2015, the Cimos group generated €252.7mn in revenues, while cutting costs by 10% compared to the same period in the year before and improving liquidity.

Despite popular opposition to sales of local enterprises to foreign investors, Ljubljana launched a privatisation process after its corporate and banking sectors fell victim to the 2008 global financial crisis as well as the 2013 Eurozone crisis.

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