SLO - Valji bought by Austrian rival

The Štore-based company Valji, one of the main employers in the Celje area, has been taken over by Austrian company Rudolf Weinberger Holding, which includes Valji's Austrian rival Eisenwerk Sulzau-Werfen, on-line portal Necenzurirano reports on Thursday.

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Valji, a manufacturer of rolls and castings, was sold to the Austrians by the company Elements Skladi, which entered the company in 2017, by Petrol and some of its creditors which held a minority share in the company. They held a combined 90% stake in the company.

Three years ago, Valji was on the verge of bankruptcy, but was salvaged by Elements Skladi, owned by Cypriot businessman Savvas Liasis. The new owner dismissed the long-term CEO and biggest owner Ivan Štrlekar and successfully completed a financial restructuring.

In the meantime Valji's financial liabilities dropped from EUR 18 million to about EUR 6 million.

According to Necenzurirano's unofficial information, the company's annual earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) amount to some EUR 2.5 million.

In the second quarter this year, when the Covid-19 epidemic hit, Valji generated EUR 6.5 million in sales revenue, and almost EUR 400,000 in operating profit while net profit stood at EUR 50,000. A significant upturn was recorded already last year, when its revenue reached some EUR 24 million. A modernisation of production is also planned shortly.

The company was pushed into the red by the 2008 financial crisis, when it was hit by a sudden major drop in orders just as it was finalising a multimillion investment into a new foundry, which significantly increased the company's production capabilities.

Rudolf Weinberger Holding and its owner Eisenwerk Sulzau-Werfen, is one of Europe's biggest manufacturers of high precision steel cylinders and casts.

According to Necenzurirano, it employs almost 300 people and generates about EUR 75 million in sales revenue annually.