Ljubljana, 21 February (STA) - Shareholders holding a combined 50.98% in Intereuropa published a call for bids for the majority stake in the logistics company on Monday.
Bidding for the stakes held by insurer Zavarovalnica Triglav (2.7%), the KAD and SOD para-state funds (9.1% and 6%), the banks NLB (3%) and Abanka Vipa (2.7%), and port operator Luka Koper (24.8%) is open until 31 March.
Another 1.93% of Intereuropa owned by institutional investors is being offered along with the main stake.
At current market prices, the 53% stake up for sale is worth EUR 15.4m.
The call comes after Luka Koper put its 25% holding up for sale in December. It later extended the offer until 31 March and said several other major shareholders were interested in divesting.
Luka Koper said at the time that the sale was prompted by an expression of interest in its holding.
Intereuropa representatives labelled the move a right of the owners and noted that the company's five-year strategy had highlighted the need to secure a strategic partner that would help provide financial stability.
They suggested they hoped the new ownership structure would secure partnerships that would open doors to markets where the company was not present with its network yet or to services not provided by Intereuropa.
KAD representatives told the STA that it had been assessed that the time was right for the sale and that a lot of interest was expected, while SOD said that its investments were managed in a way to meet its obligations in paying out compensation.
"As a responsible owner, SOD is always striving to maximise the sales value of its investments, which is why in collecting bids for Intereuropa shares it has merged its interests with other owners," SOD representatives said.
The NLB bank, which has reported a EUR 200m loss before tax for 2010, said it was selling in line with its strategy to sell off investments not part of core operations.
The government has been planning a merger of Intereuropa, Luka Koper and state-owned rail operator Slovenske zeleznice into a logistics holding, but that idea has not convinced Intereuropa or Luka Koper and is staunchly opposed by trade unions at the two companies.
The final decision on the merger has not be taken yet and it unclear what the sale means for the government's plans.