Two investors reportedly in bidding for Slovenia’s Cimos

By bne IntelliNews March 25, 2016

Bosnian businessman Nijaz Hastor and Italian investment fund Palladio Finanziaria have submitted non-binding bids for a 92.3% stake in Slovenian automotive components manufacturer Cimos Group, Slovenian national broadcaster RTV Slovenia (RTV SLO) reported on March 24.

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.

Hastor, best known in Slovenia for his role in the bankruptcy of former flagship car seat cover maker Prevent, unofficially offered €200mn, according to RTV SLO.

Palladio Finanziaria is interested only in Cimos' assets in Slovenia, Bosnia and Serbia, but not Croatia.

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%) and 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%).

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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