Business News

Majority Stake in Helios Up for Sale (adds)

Domžale, 07 September (STA) - A consortium of owners of Helios launched on Friday the sale of a joint 72.89% stake in the Domžale-based coatings maker. Most of the companies selling are state-owned.

The consortium consists of the NLB bank, the SOD fund, bank Abanka Vipa, the Modra zavarovalnica insurer, asset management firm Triglav skladi, the NBKM bank, investment firm NFD, Banka Celje, insurer Zavarovalnica Triglav, Gorenjska banka, investment firm Primorski skladi, Probanka, and asset management fund KBM Infond.

Most of the companies involved in the consortium are state-owned and some of them are selling shares confiscated as collateral for loans to the Church-related Zvon Ena Holding.

The sale is organised by the French bank BNP Paribas, today's press release published by the consortium in the business daily Finance reads.

The move is a revival of a sales attempt from the start of the year, which was abandoned by the NLB bank although the state-owned bank was said to be the initiator behind the consortium.

The first attempt was met with strong resistance from workers, who fear the sale could imperil 2,500 jobs at what is considered a successful Slovenian company.

Head of the Trade Union of Chemical, Non-Metal and Rubber Industries of Slovenia (KNG) Tomaž Kumer, who also represents Helios's workers as supervisor, told the STA that the workers were not against the sale per se.

They however insist on a transparent procedure and the setting down of priorities, especially regarding the protection of workers and the brand name.

Kumer fears that the drive for solving banks is leading to short-term solutions, pointing out that good companies are important for the state in the long run.

He highlighted the case of drinks maker Fructal where many promises were made before the sale but are now hard to follow. This is why the union is pushing for commitments to workers and the company be inserted into the contract.

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