Search for Adria’s new owner at a later dateDespite plans to put Adria Airways on sale this month, the Executive Board has decided to postpone the search for a new strategic partner until at least the fall of 2012. The decision comes days after it was revealed the carrier will be trimming down its fleet by phasing out its Airbus jets. While no official reason has been given for the sale push back, Slovenian media report that there is currently no interest in the carrier.
A final decision on Adria’s ownership structure will be made by its majority share holder - the government. Other shareholders, comprised of various Slovenian banks want the carrier sold as soon as possible. Originally, the Slovenian government was expected to announce the amount of shares it is willing to offer to a potential strategic partner on June 29.
Adria could be attractive to potential investors due to its strong regional network and absolute home market domination. On the other hand, its weaknesses are its accumulated debt and a potentially complicated relationship with the government and workers unions. Over the past few years Turkish Airlines, Qatar Airways and even Lufthansa have been rumoured as potential investors, however all seem to have interests elsewhere. Qatar Airways ruled out any interest in Adria late last year and has had bad experience in Europe when it tried to negotiate an unsuccessful takeover of the now defunct Spanair. Lufthansa on the other hand is trying either sell off or restructure its recent acquisitions in Europe.
Adria Airways’ Corporate Communications Department has since denied that any action has been taken by the Executive Board to postpone the sale of the carrier.