Business News

Plan for Logistics Holding In for More Debate

Koper, 16 July (STA) - Ex-Deutsche Bahn boss Hartmut Mehdorn and Slovenian Transport Minister Patrick Vlacic discussed Mehdorn's vision of a new Slovenian logistics holding with supervisors of port operator Luka Koper on Friday. Information on the meeting and the supervisors' opinion on the project was scarce.

"We've decided not to comment until we have all the numbers," chief supervisor Janez Pozar said after the meeting in Koper. He said Mehdorn and Vlacic had presented a draft plan, while a decision on it would be made at the end of August.

Mehdorn was not available for comment after today's meeting, while Vlacic said that the talks about the structure, ownership and financing of the holding (which would merge major Slovenian logistics companies in a bid to save ailing rail operator Slovenske zeleznice) were still underway.

According to Vlacic, the key purpose of the holding would be to produce synergy among the country's top logistics companies. He did not exclude the possibility of including bus transport and airports into the project.

Meanwhile, an unofficial report in a business daily suggested that the holding would be called Slovenian Transport and Mobility (STM) and would include not only Luka Koper, Slovenske zeleznice and Intereuropa, but also bus companies from the logistics group Viator&Vektor.

According to Thursday's Finance, Mehdorn proposes the holding to be run by a team of Slovenian managers with the support from international experts. However, a foreign manager should be put on the team at least in the initial phase.

While Finance reported that Mehdorn's plan was for the strategic concept to be finalised by the end of September, which is also when the government should decide on the date of its launch, Vlacic refused to give any time frame today.

"I see no need for a hurry, but I see the need for the process to continue," he said. If the guidelines presented in August prove acceptable, the government's decision will follow in a month or two, he added.

"At meetings such as today's it's very clear that answers (to emerging open issues) will have to be good and that numbers supporting the project will have to be convincing," he noted.

Luka Koper CEO Gregor Veselko said that a lot of issues are yet to be resolved, including regarding the anti-trust legislation and the concession agreement which Luka Koper has with the state.

According to Finance, Mehdorn estimates that some EUR 400m should be invested in the setting up of the holding, while his goal is an operating profit of EUR 24-48m in 2015.

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