The administrator tasked with salvaging the defunct Bovec cableway and associated infrastructure has confirmed the two preferential creditors of the former operating company ATC Kanin have rejected a non-binding offer for the remaining apparatus from Russian-based concern, Ilev Engineering.

Both Heta and HIT Nova Gorica regard Ilev’s €123,000 bid to be unacceptable, potentially paving the way for Bovec’s Municipality to complement its acquisition of Kanin’s circular cableway and Prestreljenek mountain restaurant with the remaining infrastructure, removing the final obstacle to the necessary reconstruction work taking place before the forthcoming 2015/16 winter season. A little known Slovenian law that allows distressed assets that haven’t sold during a serious of auctions to pass into public hands brought about Bovec’s Municipality acquiring the initial tranche of assets, a surety of €112,000 the local authority paid as part of the deal correlating to an amount calculated that the former operating company lost during its two years of inactivity.

In an unusual move, by turning down the only realistic finance they could hope to get for the remaining pieces of Kanin’s winter-sports apparatus Heta and HIT presumably will allow a transfer of assets into public ownership if, all parties can agree on a first and final settlement fee that will be expected to dwarf Ilev’s offer of €123,000. Perhaps mindful of Bovec’s desire to expeditiously begin the necessary upgrade to Kanin’s lift-system but, by not having full control of all the assets being unable to realistically do so, Heta and HIT could end up playing hardball over a transfer of assets settlement. Once all the criteria has been met, presumably including having all the infrastructure under its control, €3 million of state funding to bring Kanin’s ski area back into use is on the table for Bovec although this could be subject to legal challenges from other Slovenian ski areas who, with justification can ask why Bovec should be regarded as a special case. Mindful of what ultimately amounted to illegal state aid being granted to ski manufacturer Elan, this multi-million euro package of help from Slovenia’s incumbent administration cannot yet be regarded as a done deal.

With a real need to undertake the necessary renovation of the pylons and cableway time is of the essence for Bovec, who cannot afford to see another winter season slip by and watch its dwindling number of guests transferred each morning to Sella Nevea, the resort situated on the Italian side of Mount Kanin. Extensive testing of an as of yet unrepaired cableway will only add further delays to winter sports recommencing in Bovec but even at this relatively early stage of 2015, time is running out for that to become a reality this winter.

The suspension of winter sports operations on Kanin’s slopes above Bovec was brought about by several of the gondola carriages falling to earth, all of which were thankfully empty at the time. Accusations and counter-claims to this day have failed to ascertain a definitive reason for the accident, the Slovenian Meteorological Society refuting claims that a freakish bout of brief but destructive high winds was the cableway’s ultimate ‘downfall’. Whilst in the short-term Bovec’s Municipality seem set to assume control of the entire portfolio of assets it will ultimately hope to find a private enterprise to operate the lift and its associated assets, a process that might prove to be easier said than done considering little or no interest was shown in ATC Kanin’s assets during a succession of public auctions.

Further reading on this subject can viewed at: Delo: creditors of ATC Kanin reject Russian offer