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Czech, US and German Firms Reportedly Bidding for Elan

Begunje na Gorenjskem, 12 November (STA) - Czech ski manufacturer Sporten and Slovenian-owned US company Boba Ing are the frontrunners in the bidding for Slovenian state-owned sports goods manufacturer Elan, with a late bid by a German buyout firm, according to a report in Wednesday's edition of the daily Dnevnik.

The company confirmed that several bidders had placed their offers without disclosing any other details save from saying that the bids received proved Elan to be an interesting strategic investment.

According to Dnevnik, German investment fund Adcuram, which is involved in acquiring troubled companies and their restructuring, joined bidding for Elan at the last minute.

Elan's state owners had previously led talks with several prospective buyers, before deciding to invite Sporten and Boba Ing for further talks. They will reportedly also consider Adcuram's bid.

The daily says that the favourite is Boba Ing, owned by successful Slovenian businessman Robert Antunovič, who several years ago started manufacturing baby carriers in the US.

About a year ago he launched a business accelerator called Design Forward in Slovenia together with the Slovenian firm Gigodesign, which has been doing business with Elan for years, and financial fund RSG.

According to unofficial information available to Dnevnik, bids for Elan substantially exceed the minimum of EUR 12m, which Elan needs to repay along with interest cost for illegal state aid it received in 2008.

An obstacle to the sale could be the recent decision by the Supreme Court to annul the Higher Court's ruling to reject millions in damages claim from former Elan CEO Uroš Korže.

According to the management, Elan saw almost 10% year-on-year increase in revenue in the first ten months of the year. A new deal to supply winds turbines will create 50 new jobs.

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