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Strategic Investor Sought for Elan

Begunje na Gorenjskem, 27 October (STA) - The state-owned PDP asset management company will soon launch procedures to find a strategic investor for sports goods maker Elan willing to provide a capital increase that would reduce the state's stake in the company, PDP boss Matej Golob Matzele told the STA on Wednesday.

"We've had some contacts with strategic and financial investors interested in Elan. I think now is a good opportunity for Elan to get fresh capital and a stable long-term owner," Golob Matzele said.

PDP holds 66% of Elan stock. Its stake would be reduced with the equity investment of a strategic investor, but in the next few years PDP would retain a minority interest before gradually pulling out of Elan altogether, he said.

Elan had been struggling for years, but a new management headed by Robert Ferko has turned the company around in the last year and a half, albeit with the help of state-supplied capital injections totalling around EUR 20m in 2007 and 2008.

The company also Elan emerged out of receivership earlier last year, ending a process that lasted a whole 19 years.

Ferko told the STA the company did not need fresh capital as such, but the money would be welcome for development of its two core businesses, winter sports and yachts.

"We want a strategic partner who's aware of the importance of the brand and will support the successful development and business model which we've developed," said Ferko.

Elan does not expect to emerge from the red this year or next, although Ferko said it will come very close to breaking even in 2011.

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