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Gorenje Gets EUR 55M Syndicated Loan from Slovenian Banks

Ljubljana, 09 July (STA) - Home appliance group Gorenje has secured a EUR 55m syndicated loan from six banks to use for investment in new products and expansion to new foreign markets as well as to refinance existing liabilities.

A deal on the loan was signed on Wednesday in Ljubljana by Gorenje chairman Franjo Bobinac and representatives of the NLB bank, which acted as an agent in the deal which also involved SID banka, Banka Koper, NKBM, Abanka Vipa and Gorenjska banka.

The seven-year loan, which carries an undisclosed interest rate, is "an important piece in the mosaic with which the group is securing refinancing for this year", Bobinac said after the signing.

It is part of broader restructuring strategy that saw the company complete several moves in its production locations. These are showing in the results this year, Bobinac said.

The group plans to finish 2014 with a net profit of EUR 12m and a gross operating profit of EUR 93m, after finishing last year with a minimal profit of EUR 1m.

In addition to securing its financing for the year, the loan will also be used to expand to new markets, mostly outside of Europe. Bobinac said that key targets were the US and Australia.

The group's plans in these markets hinge on Asko, the Swedish maker of high-end home appliances which Gorenje acquired in 2010.

Gorenje is currently wrapping up a capital increase with which it has already raised EUR 27m and is eyeing another EUR 10m.

Meanwhile, responding to frequent criticism of Slovenia's banks for their reluctance to lend in the aftermath of the crisis caused by bad loans given during the boom years, Bobinac said the latest deal demonstrated that "the financial sector in the country is alive and functioning".

"It is clear that it has an ear for good projects," Bobinac added about the banking sector.

This was echoed by NLB chairman Janko Medja, who labelled the deal as "proof that more than just keeping our word, we are committed to implementing important and complex projects".

The syndicate is made up of five Slovenian banks, most of then in state-ownership, and Banka Koper, which is part of the Italian Intesa Sanpaolo financial group.

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