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Caveat Attached to Postojna Cave Concession

Ljubljana, 11 March (STA) - The government on Thursday adopted an annex to the concession contract for the operation of the Postojna Cave and the Predjama Castle under which the concessionaire would have to seek the government's consent in case of major changes in the company.

The decision comes after the operator of the world-famous cave, Turizem Kras, has been put up for sale, which provoked public outcry in face of the possibility that the company would end up in the hands of a foreign buyer.

Under the annex the company would have to notify the Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning on planned changes concerning articles of association, statutory changes at the company or its members, major ownership changes, changes in management or its supervision.

Before deciding on any of these changes the concessionaire would have to acquire the consent of the state, Environment Minister Roko Zarnic told reporters after the weekly session of the government.

Turizem Kras, which signed a 20-year concession contract for the operation of the cave system in August 2008, has promised to signed the annex in informal contacts, the minister explained.

He underscored it was not the concession, but the concessionaire that was being sold. However, he also said the government was not interested in the emergence of a buyer that would represent problems in the operation of the concession in the future.

Turizem Kras, a subsidiary of the tourism arm of the conglomerate Istrabenz was put up for sale in February as the Istrabenz holding is seeking funds to pay off its debts as part of court-mandated debt restructuring.

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