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Petrol Selling its Stake in Istrabenz

Ljubljana, 12 October (STA) - Energy company Petrol is selling its 32.6% stake in the troubled Istrabenz holding or all of its 1,690,305 shares. The call for bids, published on Friday, will be open until 30 October.

The company will only accept binding offers for at least a quarter of the shares on sale.

The company has decided for the sale, because the investment is losing its strategic importance for Petrol. The money from the sale will be used to cover the company's debts or for investments, Petrol told the STA.

Istabenz's share ended today's trading on the Ljubljana Stock Exchanges at EUR 0.45.

Janez Živko, a member of Petrol's management board, said in the spring that the fuel retailer had absorbed the EUR 190m investment in Istrabenz in its business results in the last four years.

The write-down on investment in Istrabenz was concluded last year. Petrol formed EUR 23.3m in write-downs on account of this in 2011 alone.

Istrabenz did not comment on Petrol's decision today.

The fuel retailer published a takeover bid for Istrabenz in October 2007, under CEO Marko Kryžanowski. Before that, Petrol had less than 14% of Istrabenz shares.

In the takeover bid, Petrol initially offered EUR 100 for a share, but the two biggest owners, the state-owned SOD and KAD funds, holding 16.4% and 11.81%, respectively, said the offer was too low.

Subsequently, the offer was raised to EUR 110 per share and the takeover was completed, with Petrol raising its stake in the company to about a third.

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