Ljubljana, 15 October (STA) - The Bank Assets Management Company (BAMC) has published a call for non-binding bids for its 12.93% stake in the chemical company Cinkarna Celje. Bids will be collected until 13 November, shows a posting by the state-owned bad bank in the newspaper Finance on Thursday.
BAMC is the second largest owner of the Celje-based plant, whose main product is titanium dioxide pigment, after the pension fund Modra Zavarovalnica (20%). The state-owned Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) holds a 11.41% stake.
In the national asset management strategy, Cinkarna Celje is defined as a portfolio investment, which means that it may be sold in its entirety.
At the end of last year, the then SSH chairman Gabrijel Škof said that the state-owned asset manager was open for this option if there was a good opportunity, but that other owners needed to be talked to about joining in.
There have been at least two unsuccessful attempts to privatise the company since 2015, mostly due to certain environmental issues still being open.
At the end of August, the management adopted a programme for the company to purchase its own shares up to the amount of 10% of share capital. Cinkarna Celje recently announced that, as of 9 October, it holds 2.47% of its own shared.
The company CEO Aleš Skok said at the beginning of August that it mattered to the company who the owner was and how it supported the company's development vision and strategy.
"The existing ownership structure ... is relatively favourable. Considering that we are listed on the stock market, we would like to see a bit more diversified ownership and, for example, greater participation of typical portfolio investors," he added.
In the first half of the year, Cinkarna Celje saw its sales revenue drop by 4% year-on-year to EUR 88.7 million, while operating profit was down 22% to EUR 11.7 million, and net profit dropped by 21% to EUR 9.9 million.