News is currently being circulated by the Slovene regional newspaper Gorenjski Glas of a potential majority-stake buy-out of the Vogel cable-car company. Such news will be received with dismay by many of the other ailing Slovenian cableway companies seeking investment or outright bailouts, through an appointed official receiver or otherwise.
Vogel though is certainly a case apart from the likes of Bovec and Pohorje thanks to the profit it posts annually, due to its all year round business model that sees a steady stream of patrons almost twelve months of the year. Benefiting but not solely relying on heavy snowfalls for liquidity, the owners have also successfully tapped into the lucrative May-October hiking and climbing demographics thanks to Vogel’s varied offer of accommodation, culinary and guided walking options. Whilst it is fair to say that Vogel has a large head start on many other Slovenian resorts thanks to its proximity to Lake Bohinj, that alone is no guarantee of financial success, as many of Bohinj’s floundering hotel-stock will testify. Proof though, should it be needed, that a sound business model and modest but sustainable inward investment can reap dividends, even in the toughest of economic circumstances that modern-day Slovenia finds itself in.
Anthony Tomazin, an Australian-Slovenian who recently made several high-profile purchases in Ljubljana is reportedly behind an offer to purchase 51% of the Vogel cable-car company although, it is not clear if this potential acquisition by Mr. Tomazin would be using personal finance to underwrite the deal or through his company, Terra Australis. Whilst it is unlikely that new investment would be turned away, the local mayor Franc Kramar quite rightly voices caution over any such deal taking place, stating that Vogel needs credible operators – that isn’t to say it hasn’t got one already, it obviously has – and not speculators who could do more harm than good. It is though interesting that whilst the Bohinj 2864 project, literally down the road from Lake Bohinj flails around seeking the final piece of the financial jigsaw to get its pet project off the ground, an investor has emerged in the shape of Mr. Tomazin who has given that particular scheme a wide berth. A Tolar for the thoughts right now of the Bohinj 2864 project management team…
The message from the Bohinj municipality seems to contain a cautious welcome to any new investment in the Vogel infrastructure but comes with a warning: any investor might need Vogel more than it needs he or she. Whilst profits can always be improved upon it is definitely a case of being careful of what you wish for. Mayor Kramar strikes an appropriate tone when stating the demise of the Zmago Pacnikom portfolio of hotels(Zlatorog, Bellevue, etc) must not be repeated. Vogel is doing quite well, thank you very much; the municipality will therefore only endorse a deal and work with a credible operator if they can take Vogel to the next level, without compromising its current success or seek to blight the landscape any further than the creation of its pistes have already done.
Further reporting on this issue can be viewed at: Gorenjski Glas: Vogel to receive new majority stakeholders?