Business News


Elan Upbeat About Upcoming Winter Season, Looking for Buyer

Begunje na Gorenjskem, 09 November (STA) - Sports goods maker Elan, which continues to search for a buyer, is upbeat about the coming winter season, having recorded an increase in pre-orders, especially for newly developed products such as the Delight ultralight skis for women.

Elan representatives have told the STA that the company, which has expanded its successful amphibio technology this year, feels encouraged by this to pursue more innovation.

However, the results will also depend strongly on the weather, which is why the first estimates by Elan indicate similar figures for the winter division at the end of the year as in 2012.

The Elan core company made 377,888 pairs of skis last year, which was a 31% drop year-on-year. Revenues for Elan brand skis, which hold a 8.5% global market share, reached EUR 27.5m last year, a 10% drop on 2011, while sales of skis produced by Elan for other brands dropped 28% to EUR 7.m.

The decline is attributed to the economic crisis as well as the mild 2011/12 winter, but sales also dropped in 2012 at Elan's maritime division, where an additional drop is expected this year.

A total of 120 sailing boats, or two more than the previous year, were sold in 2012, yet the sales revenue was down from EUR 13.3m to EUR 10.5m, as the share of smaller vessels increased.

Elan is doing better in the growing division of wind power, which is however for now a minor segment of the company's operations.

Total sales revenues for the state-owned company stood at EUR 55.1m last year, down 9% on 2011. Net loss amounted to EUR 4.9m, after a minimum profit was recorded the year before.

Elan, which still employed more than 500 people at group level in 2012 after an 8% reduction of the workforce, is looking for a new owner that would also supply fresh capital for years.

In the latest attempt to privatise the struggling company, Elan said in September it had received more than ten non-binding bids for the acquisition of a majority stake. The management said then it hoped the sale would be finalised in the first half of next year.

The search for a strategic partner is the more pressing after the European Commission ruled that the company must pay back EUR 10m received in fresh capital in 2008 on grounds that it constituted illegal state aid. The deadline for the payment expired at the end the June, but Slovenia asked for an extension until the company is sold.

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