Business News

Retail Magnate Tus Remains Wealthiest Slovenian

Ljubljana, 03 November (STA) - Mirko Tus, the owner of the namesake group whose main line of business is retail, remains the wealthiest Slovenian, but the value of his empire is shrinking steadily under the burden of debts, a survey by the Manager magazine has shown.

The survey, released on Wednesday, shows no change in the rankings of the richest three Slovenians. Tus's stake in Tus Holding is estimated at EUR 196.2m, which is 42% less than what was worth last year.

Second on the list is Igor Lah, who made money on privatisation vouchers during Slovenia's transition to market economy. Lah saw his assets contract by 31% to EUR 166.5m.

Lah's formula of success remains making cheap takeovers, squeezing out minor shareholders and then moving the assets from company to company and eventually to tax heavens, according to the magazine.

The third on the list, Darko Horvat, who controls the Netherlands-based asset management group Aktiva Holdings, is estimated to have EUR 112.8m in assets, which is a bit more than last year.

The Manager magazine says it is hard to get hold of up-to-date data on Horvat's latest deals, while noting that his mother Mirka Horvat reportedly paid EUR 37m for a luxury villa in the Swiss resort St. Moritz.

Climbing from 90th to 4th place is Sandi Cesko, a Zagorje-based entrepreneur who increased his assets more than six-fold in the past year to EUR 87.2m through a group of home shopping companies called Studio Moderna.

Diners Card Slovenija founder Tomaz Lovse climbed one spot to fifth, having increased his assets by 13% to EUR 83.2m. He hit the jackpot by selling his holding in Diners Club Adriatic, in a deal estimated at EUR 65m.

The survey shows that the crisis continued to take a toll on the assets of the richest Slovenians in the past year. The combined assets of the richest 100 dropped by a fifth to EUR 2.54bn on last year after already shrinking by a fifth to EUR 3.24bn on 2008.

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