To those outside Slovenia the labyrinthine details regarding Adria Airways, Ljubljana airport and Adria Airways Tehnika, the former maintenance arm of the nation’s flag carrier, take some untangling.
Ljubljana’s Brnik based airport has long since fallen under the auspices of German company Fraport, who will seek to maximise Slovenia’s principal airport’s potential as a hub for the emerging south eastern Europe market, as well as being a conduit between the west and former Communist east. It is a given that Fraport will not be guilty of hand-wringing or procrastination, such was the level of the investment taking their holding to over 97%. The details though regarding the futures of still state owned Adria Airways and its former subsidiary Tehnika are currently less clear although, as Slovenia’s incumbent administration seek to expedite the privatisation of 15 public-sector state companies, albeit perhaps not as quickly as their indecent haste to jettison them would suggest, it is now generally accepted that the process is much nearer meeting its endgame.
There is though a fog of confusion for many non-Slovene’s to negotiate through before a clearer picture of the past, current and any potential future ownership can be ascertained. Tehnika is still part owned by the state in the shape of financial holding company PDP, having once been solely state-owned before Fraport’s acquisition of Ljubljana airport, its other previous owner. Previous to that it had been owned by Adria Airways who despite being state owned divested themselves of their eponymously-named maintenance arm, it somewhat confusingly retaining the Adria Airways nomenclature despite ties having been severed with the airline. By purchasing Ljubljana airport Fraport assumed part-ownership of Tehnika along with PDP although, it would’ve been understood that Tehnika couldn’t figure in Fraport’s long-term plans whilst it remained partly state-owned, unless of course Fraport were to purchase PDP’s stake, in effect from the state. Recent reports emanating from Fraport would emphatically suggest this won’t be the case, stating that whilst the deadline for binding bids for Tehnika are due by March 20th, two such proposals from Avia Solutions and Express Airways have already been received. Being a rare creature in Slovenia having generated a small profit during 2014, Tehnika look to have the expertise and experience to weather the current financial storms raging throughout Slovenia and position themselves as an attractive proposition to would-be investors. Assuming they become company number four of the gang of fifteen to be privatised, it is anticipated the process to offload the remaining eleven state-owned companies will become progressively more difficult. Whether the rush to redress the severe financial deficit being plugged by Slovenia’s presiding administration through an unprecedented purge on state-ownership will see the country lose its identity, we can only watch on and wait. The devil may be in the detail but when money talks, even the angels listen.
Further reading on this issue can be found at: Adria Airways Tehnika set deadline for binding bids