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Slovenia Seeks Bids for Majority Stake in Adria Airways

Slovenia started looking for buyers of a majority stake in Adria Airways d.d., its sole carrier, as the Balkan country seeks to reduce state aid to companies and lower public debt.

Preliminary bids for as much as 75 percent of the Brnik-based company are to be submitted by Sept. 10, a government agency overseeing state assets said on its website today. The government owns 70 percent of the carrier and the remaining stake belongs to banks including Nova Ljubljanska Banka d.d. and Abanka Vipa d.d.

Airlines in the Balkans, including Croatia Airlines and Jat Airways of Serbia, are seeking partners as economies in the region falter and consumers cut back on travel while foreign competitors including Ireland’s Ryanair Holdings Plc and Budapest-based Wizz Air Ltd. step up expansion.

Adria, a member of the Star Alliance, received 49 million euros ($60 million) from the Slovenian government last year to continue operations. The Cabinet of Prime Minister Janez Jansa has pledged to cut state aid to companies as the euro-region nation seeks to lower its debt, which more than doubled since the 2007 adoption of the euro.

Barons Financial Services SA, based in Geneva, will advise on the airline sale, according to the statement.

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