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Helios Sale Entering Final Phase

Ljubljana, 07 August (STA) - The shareholders who are selling a 73% stake in coatings maker Helios have entered into exclusive talks with one of the two bidders that submitted binding offers, the Austrian group Ring International, Finance reported on Wednesday.

Ring has been chosen because it expressed interest in the entire company, whereas the second bidder, US multinational PPG, wanted to acquire just the coatings division.

Finance says Ring is offering EUR 600 per share, nearly 20% over the current market price, which values the entire company at EUR 167m.

Ring already owns a company in Slovenia, having acquired the Železniki-based metal stationary products manufacturer Niko in 2008.

Its director, Ralph Martens, suggested for the STA in a June interview that Helios would be a good fit, as Ring has a substantial presence on western markets while Helios is more active in the east.

The 72.89% stake is being sold by a consortium of six banks (NLB, Abanka, NKBM, Banka Celje, Gorenjska banka, Probanka), two insurers (Zavarovalnica Triglav, Modra zavarovalnica) and five funds (Sod, Triglav skladi, NFD, Primorski skladi, KBM Infond).

The banks in particular acquired the Helios stock as collateral from the bankrupt Church-owned financial holdings Zvon I and Zvon II.

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