Business News

Minister Questions Sale of Peko to Croatian Company

Ljubljana, 18 April (STA) - Economic Development and Technology Minister Stanko Stepišnik questioned on Thursday the sale of shoes maker Peko to Croatian steel company Osimpex, citing insufficient guarantees. An alternative would be to sell the troubled, majority state-owned company to another buyer, the minister said.

The problem with the sale to Osimpex is insufficient guarantees, which means that in case of bankruptcy there was no guarantee on what would happen to the workers, he explained.

"Plan B is to sell Peko to another buyer, one that would give us better guarantees," Stepišnik said, adding that the issue had not been on the government's agenda today.

The government will focus on the Peko case in the future, he said, admitting that time was of the essence.

Croatia's Osimpex said on Tuesday that it had been notified a day earlier by the commission in charge of the Peko sale that it was the best bidder.

Peko owners - the state, the state-run DSU fund and banks Gorenjska banka and SKB banka, which are together selling their 100% share in Peko - signed a contract on the sale with Osimpex at the end of March.

The supervisory boards, managements and CEOs of all owners have already given their consent to the deal, but the consent of the National Assembly, which must authorise the sale of DSU's stake, has still not been obtained.

The DSU urged on Tuesday the Finance Ministry to issue the consent as soon as possible, but the ministry did not wish to comment on when the government or the National Assembly would decide on the matter.

The DSU noted that Osimpex's offer would expire on 30 April.

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