Czech Ambassador Protests Hoteli Maestral Sale?

By 5 November 2018

ZAGREB, November 5, 2018 - The State Assets Ministry said on Monday that a tender for the state's stake in the Hoteli Maestral company was equal for all bidders, responding to media reports that Czech Ambassador Vladimir Zavazal has written to state institutions to warn that Croatian bidders are being favoured.

The ministry was asked by Hina if it had received Zavazal's letter in which he suspects that Czech investors will be short-changed in relation to Croatian companies and says that one Croatian bidder has submitted incomplete documentation.

Some media have reported that Zavazal has written to the ministry and the Restructuring and Sales Centre (CERP), expressing his fear that the Czech investors which have submitted binding offers for shares in the Dubrovnik-based hotel company are subordinate to the Croatian bidder.

Three binding offers have been submitted for a 68.94% stake in the company, two by Czech bidders, J&T IB Capital Markets and ECO Investments, and one by Croatia's PND Strategija, a company owned by Danko Ćorić.

According to the media, Zavazal says in the letter that when the offers were opened, one Czech bidder found that PND Strategija failed to submit financial statements for 2016 and 2017, yet the State Assets Ministry declared its offer complete and valid.

Zavazal recalls that only one offer, by J&T IB Capital Markets, was submitted for Hoteli Maestral in a previous privatisation tender which was eventually cancelled for formal reasons.

The new tender was advertised in August. The asking price for the 68.94% stake was 126.8 million kuna. On October 24, CERP said three offers had been submitted - 145.9 million kuna by J&T IB Capital Markets, 141.07 million kuna by ECO Investments, and 153.5 million kuna by PND Strategija.

Hoteli Maestral is the last major hotel company in which the state is the majority owner. Last year, it netted 4.1 million kuna in profits, up 7% from 2016. Over the past ten years, the state has not been able to find a buyer.

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