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Paloma to End 2013 in Black as Talks on Privatisation Continue

Sladki Vrh, 29 December (STA) - Tissue maker Paloma will end 2013 in positive territory, Paloma chairman Tadej Gosak told the STA. He expects year-end revenues to reach EUR 85.5m after record sales of EUR 8.1m in October. The majority state-owned company is among the ones slated for privatisation, with procedures scheduled to begin in the first half of 2014.

Gosak, who took over in August, said a number of measures at all levels of operations had been taken since his arrival in order to ensure profitability.

"Cutting energy costs and negotiating better conditions with suppliers of raw materials are of key importance. We must reorganise processes to improve efficiency and response times in out key markets," Gosak said.

Employing 740 people, the tissue producer posted EUR 69.9m in net sales revenues in the first 10 months this year. In 2014 the company plans to rake in EUR 88m in sales revenues, up 4% from this year's estimates.

After Paloma failed to find a strategic partner in 2011, the government put it on the list of 15 companies slated for privatisation.

Talks with potential investors have already begun and a financial advisor for the sale is expected to be appointed in early 2014.

While Paloma's management remains tight-lipped about potential suitors, several names have been popping up in the media, including Slovekia's Slovak Hygienic Paper SHP and Serbia's Drenik ND.

Dubai-based financial holding Emkaam Investments, which is currently is in the midst of completing the purchase of bankrupt paper producer Radeče papir, has also been mentioned as a candidate.

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