Klaus Regling: »Slovenia no longer in crisis mode«.
The chief executive officer of the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), Klaus Regling, expressed his opinions on Slovenia’s financial situation during his visit to Ljubljana in early September. According to Regling, Slovenia has made significant progress, especially in the last 18 months. The government chose the right direction in resolving the crisis: the banks were recapitalized and BAMC (the Bank Asset Management Company) is doing its job well. Growth was solid in 2014 and is almost 3 percent above the Eurozone average in the first half of 2015. Still, some challenges remain, stressed Regling. The further shrinking of bank loans is a clear indicator that the banking sector has not been fully restructured yet.
NKBM and Žito sold to foreign investors
In summer, Slovenian Sovereign Holding sold a 100-percent stake in the second largest Slovenian bank NKBM to the US private equity fund Apollo and to the EBRD. The price was valued at around 250 million euros. NKBM bank was heavily burdened by bad debt. In the last period the bank managed to reduce its stock of bad loans significantly and now operates with net profit. The new owners aim to improve the efficiency of the bank and to create a strong regional player.In September another state owned company earmarked for privatization was successfully sold. 56- percent of the food and bakery company Žito was acquired by Croatian food group Podravka. The price was 33 million euros.
Bad bank does well
Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC or »bad bank«) recently published a short report on its activities. According to the report the bank is »fully on track to fulfilling its mission and long-term objectives«.
Results so far are exceeding short term targets. Cash generation during 2013 to mid-2015 exceeds 311 Million, or almost 20% of the transferred portfolio (at transfer value). BAMC has successfully transferred the assets of six banks and is now in the second phase of its operations. The focus is now on »the process of restructuring still operational businesses, adding value to, and optimizing the value of, the assets with the aim of finding good long-term owners and generating cash flow«.
BAMC manages exposures in 563 cases (companies or groups of companies). In 110 of the companies the bank is pursuing restructuring strategies. On August 31st BAMC posted an invitation to expression of interest in the acquisition of a majority shareholding in CIMOS, »one of the leading European suppliers in the automotive industry«. The bank is also selling the industrial assets of Nafta Petrochem in Lendava. In early September BAMC began the sale process for the 100-percent stake in AHA Plastic, one of the leading producers of industrial packaging in Slovenia and Serbia.
Planica's new ski jump won architectural award
Planica's new ski jump won the Architzer A+ 2015 architectural award for the most impressive spaces of the year. The new ski jump, designed by the Slovenian architectural studio AKKA, was also featured in July's issue of UK Wired magazine as one of the cultural picks of the month. Planica has been the venue of ski jump competitions since 1934 and the stage for many a world record, including the first ski jump over 100 meters. Architizer is a New York based company operating the world’s leading data base on architecture and building. Its A+ global award program for the best architecture was created in 2009.