LJUBLJANA, March 24 The Ljubljana Stock Exchange
said on Tuesday it had suspended trade in energy and tourism
group Istrabenz (ITBG.LJ), pending the outcome of debt talks
with its creditors.
The Exchange said Istrabenz itself had requested the
suspension, following media reports regarding talks with
creditors "and the future fate of Istrabenz". Istrabenz said it
was in talks with banks but declined any further comment.
The bourse said Istrabenz, which has market capitalisation
of 49.7 million euros, was expected to announce details of its
talks with bank creditors on March 30. It said the suspension
was expected to be lifted on March 31.
Media reports said Istrabenz was in talks with several local
banks about rescheduling debts of about 900 million euros ($1.23
billion), of which 160 million euros mature at the end of March.
Istrabenz shares started falling heavily on uncertainty over
its debt on March 13, losing 9.7 percent to 13.35 euros, and
were down at 8.95 euros on Monday. The blue-chip SBI index
.SBI has gained 2.32 percent in that period.
There was no trade in the shares on Tuesday.
"The investors are worried that the value of the company
might be getting close to zero and ... such speculation would
affect trade over the next few days," Bine Pangrsic, an analyst
at Medvesek Pusnik brokerage told Reuters, adding the suspension
(Reporting by Manca Ulcar; edited by Marja Novak and Zoran
Radosavljevic, editing by Will Waterman)