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Laško Gearing up to Sell Radenska

Ljubljana, 27 July (STA) - Beverage group Pivovarna Laško has launched preparations to sell its subsidiary Radenska, maker of the eponymous mineral water. The sales procedure will kick off in September, Laško boss Dušan Zorko told Saturday's Delo.

Zorko said there were several potential investor interested in Radenska. One of them, the Czech drinks company Kofola, confirmed its interest for Delo.

"We're acquainted with the selection of the adviser...If the sales procedure starts, we'll probably take part," Kofola chairman Jannis Samaras told the paper.

The sale of Radenska is just the latest attempt by the overindebted Laško to stay afloat, coming just months after it decided to offload a significant stake in retailer Mercator and a year after it sold soft drinks maker Fructal.

Its media business - the newspapers Delo and Večer - is also for sale; if all the non-core investments are sold, Laško will be left with just its brewery business, the end of the dream of a drinks empire.

The disinvestment is being driven by lenders, which are seeking to recover the loans they made to Laško in the boom years, when hundreds of millions were spent on an ultimately failed management buyout that left Laško saddled with a mountain of debt.

"It is not just about the demand of one bank, all banks want that," Zorko told the newspaper.

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