STA, March 1, 2018 – Kras, a major meat processing company best known for its pršut air-dried ham, has started looking for a strategic partner after it ran into trouble due to debt and liquidity problems.
"We are ready for talks with all serious partners who could contribute to the development and growth of the group," the company told the STA.
The statement comes after all of the company's bank accounts have been blocked. AJPES, the public agency in charge of corporate legal records, said Kras did not have the money to settle its liabilities.
Kras has been struggling for several years, its sales declining from EUR 48.2m in 2015 to EUR 43.7m in 2016, the latest year for which data are publicly available.
At the end of 2016 it had EUR 8m in long-term financial liabilities, down a fifth over the year before, and EUR 11.5m in short-term liabilities, of which EUR 7.4m to banks.
The company acknowledged having problems in the 2016 business report, when it said that "the current economic situation demands constant streamlining and cost-cutting," highlighting payment defaults by partners and low prices as major problems.
Kras, a limited liability company, is majority owned by Brinovka, a company held by current and former managers, which holds a 72.5% stake; own stock accounts for the rest.
As early as 2012 it was being held up as a rare example of a successful leveraged management buyout, which was financed largely with the company's cash flow.
Its problems worsened in January, when food inspectors shut down a major processing plant in Ljubljana owned by the Kras subsidiary Mesnine Dežele Kranjske over failure to provide sufficient hygienic standards.
The plant remains closed because the company has failed to rectify the situation.