For what now seems to be an interminable period of time Adria Airways, as one of the ‘gang of fifteen’ state-owned companies slated for privatisation, have rarely been out of the headlines. It was only yesterday the Slovenian flag-carrier announced a new summer service to operate between a seemingly rejuvenated Maribor Airport and London(Southend), an airport very much under the radar to many.
News today has broken of the state majority-owned Adria(through its state holding custodians SDH and PDP) signing in effect a memorandum of understanding with global accountancy giants KPMG, to assist in an advisory capacity towards what the incumbent administration will hope to be a seamless transition from public to private hands. Whether such a process can be indefectible is of course relative to the various protagonists involved; despite KPMG’s involvement there will inevitably be a few twists and turns before a deal has finally been brokered to appease all parties and an electorate who, depending on which Slovenian political party you listen to, are either wildly in favour of many of Slovenia’s household names being privatised or, deeply sceptical of the state financially gaining from divesting itself of institutions that encapsulated much of the country’s identity.
Little room though is left for doubt that KPMG’s involvement appears to show that the denationalisation of Adria is finally gathering apace, a costly exercise already for the Slovenian government though just got more so by involving one of the world’s foremost experts in acquisitions and sales. They will therefore hope KPMG being on board will not only provide the requisite expertise but also expedite the sale of Adria although, it is not as of yet known if the timing of today’s announcement reflects advanced behind-the-scenes negotiations between the state-holding companies and potential suitors. It wouldn’t be unreasonable to suggest that by bringing on board such a heavyweight advisor that the privatising of Adria is approaching its endgame although part of me still hopes, albeit in vain, that the Slovenian state retains that little acceptable part of the former Yugoslavia that otherwise would almost certainly be lost forever, in all but name, should it be swallowed up by an aviation leviathan.
Further reading on this issue can be found at: Slovenian Press Agency: KPMG to assist with Adria sale