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UPDATE 1-Gorenje's Warsaw listing flop bodes ill for Slovenia's sell-off plans
December 18, 2013 / 3:11 PM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Gorenje's Warsaw listing flop bodes ill for Slovenia's sell-off plans

3 Min Read

* Gorenje's secondary Warsaw offer raises less than planned

* Investors say raises doubts on Slovenia's privatisation plans

* Slovenia is struggling to avoid seeking bailout (Adds market comments, background)

WARSAW, Dec 18 (Reuters) - Slovenian household appliance maker Gorenje said on Wednesday it raised far less than planned from listing its shares on the Warsaw bourse, a sign that Slovenia could face a tough task to pay off its debts by privatising assets.

Slovenia is struggling to avoid following Cyprus, Ireland, Greece, Portugal and Spain in seeking an international bailout to keep its economy afloat, with the World Bank expecting it to shrink by 1.0 percent next year.

Gorenje, already listed in Slovenia, raised nearly 17 million euros ($23.34 million) in Warsaw, well below the 45 million it was seeking from listing on central Europe's largest equity market.

Market insiders said Slovenia's problems were a factor in putting off investors.

"The company's country of origin is an important element," mWealth Management fund manager Dawid Czopek said of the Gorenje share offer. "Slovenia is in a tough situation and it may prove to be another country in need of some aid," he said.

The euro zone member announced last week its banks need 4.8 billion euros in extra capital to plug holes in their balance sheets, though it said it would be able to scrape together the cash without outside help.

Gorenje's share listing was a barometer of how much investor appetite there was for Slovenian stocks at a time when Ljubljana is preparing to privatise more than a dozen businesses to raise badly-needed cash.

Companies short-listed for sale by the Slovenian state include the country's largest telecoms operator, Telekom Slovenia, its second-biggest bank, Nova KBM, paint producer Helios, national airline Adria Airways and Ljubljana airport.

Gorenje, in which Japan's Panasonic Corp is a minority shareholder, said on Wednesday it had raised a total of 27 million euros.

But 10 million euros of that was raised via a cash contribution from Panasonic in exchange for new shares, and so was not part of the Warsaw offer.

The planned date of the company's market debut in Warsaw is Dec. 30, according to the share offer's prospectus.

$1 = 0.7283 euros Reporting by Pawel Bernat and Adrian Krajewski; Editing by Pravin Char

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