The likelihood of Slovenian flag-carrier Adria Airways and its former aircraft maintenance arm Adria Airways Tehnika(AAT) being acquired by the same purchaser has receded, following news of a bid to seize outright control of AAT by its 150-strong workforce.

In stark contrast to the ailing airline Adria Airways Tehnika are an attractive prospect offering potential bidders for the part-state owned enterprise a healthy order book and profits exceeding €2 million, translating into revenues for 2015 projected to surpass the €20 million mark. AAT finds itself as one of the much-publicised ‘group of fifteen’ wholly or partially state-owned companies slated for privatisation by the incumbent Slovenian administration, in efforts to shrink the state and lower the financial burden placed upon Slovenia to service unprofitable assets. It would though seem that AAT somewhat buck this trend by annually posting healthy returns.

A company formed by AAT’s rank and file, AAT Holding Projekt, is ostensibly a standalone vehicle to lend authority to the management buyout although strong regional and indeed international competition is expected for a company sold in 2010 by Adria Airways to the now Fraport-owned Ljubljana Airport and PDP, a state-run financial holding who, according to its website manages a portfolio of Slovenian interests through corporate governance processes. The essential criteria needing to met by potential buyers of AAT is unclear but should it come down to a scenario where the highest bidder prevails, the ownership of the Brnik-based aviational maintenance operation could pass overseas. Whilst it would be seen in Slovenia as preferable for Adria Airways Tehnika to remain in national hands, the basis of choosing a suitable partner to take AAT forward must be founded on unemotional principles that ultimately provides the best deal for the country and its skilled workforce. Whether a management buyout that offers continuity but not necessarily the highest bid can conform to these ideals will in the end be decided by those charged with overseeing the denationalisation process.

Further reading on this subject can be found at:

Ex Yugoslav Aviation: management buyout of Adria Airways Tehnika?

PDP website – English version available.