Excellence in deal execution.

Doing the deal right creates value. ION’s accomplished team with years of experience in complex transactions will work with you to evaluate opportunities, execute transactions efficiently and commit to achieving your goals. Our high level of professionalism is built on knowledge and integrity that ensures our clients get the best objective advice across the entire deal cycle. 

Why ION

Expertise

Expertise

Our partners have extensive experience and in-depth knowledge of business principles across a variety of industries.

Hands-on approach

Hands-on approach

We are passionate about what we do. This is why at ION Advisory you get to work directly with our senior team members who will be involved in every step of the transaction to ensure an optimal outcome.

Determination

Determination

Performance is important to us. We get deals done. And we do it in a way that creates most value for you.

Ethics and Integrity

Ethics and Integrity

We are committed to conduct our services with quality and integrity, adhering to the highest standards of ethical conduct.

Services

Lead M&A

With our Lead M&A services we help you achieve your strategic objectives and create shareholder value in mergers, acquisitions, disposals and carve-outs. The success of any M&A transaction largely depends on the identification of appropriate counterparts, efficient execution, required discretion and identification of key value drivers. 

 

When working with you on the sell-side we will guide you step by step throughout the process creating a compelling investment story, identifying potential investors as to create a competitive environment, preparing all required documentation, coordinating other parties involved in the process and assisting in the negotiations process up to successful closing. We can also support you in achieving your strategic objectives by divesting your non-core assets.

 

When acting as your buy-side advisor we will perform the preliminary screening of the identified target, establish contact with the target and coordinate discussions throughout the process,  assist you in evaluating the target and provide support during negotiations.

Restructuring/Turnaround

In today’s ever changing market environment companies often face situations which require a proactive and holistic approach addressing issues of financial, strategic and operational nature.

 

The markets and competitive environment are shifting, which requires an assessment of the current and future market positioning, scenario planning and evaluation and the development of a sustainable corporate strategy. On the financing side, capital structures are becoming increasingly complex and in distressed situations the interests of investors diverge considerably. This requires adequate management of lender relationships, renegotiation of existing facilities, as well as advice on restructuring and refinancing options.

 

With our extensive experience in helping clients in challenging situations and with our network of contacts within the financial services industry we will assist you with advise on restructuring and recapitalisation options and structuring a sustainable turnaround solution acceptable to all parties involved.

Capital Structuring and Debt Advisory 

An adequate capital structure is at the core of any company’s financial efficiency and success. Whether you are looking to raise new equity or debt, refinance your existing financing package or you are you are looking to raise incremental facilities for investment purposes or acquisitions, our team is ready to assist you.

Human Capital Advisory

A significant percentage of all M&A transactions fail to achieve their anticipated strategic and financial objectives. Very often due to people-related factors that become visible only after the completion of the transaction. Decision makers may simply ignore, defer, or underestimate the significance of people related issues. They gather insights of financial, commercial, and operational data, but their attention to understanding people, organizational culture, the roles, capabilities, and attitudes of its people is usually limited and often non-existent. Yet at the end, it is the people, who bring value and success to the new owners after the M&A process is completed.
 

In order to prevent or minimize people-related risks we offer human capital advisory services by which we help an acquiring company analyse the human capital within the target company as well as the procedures and policies surrounding human capital.

Meet the team

Luka Vesnaver

Luka Vesnaver

Managing Partner

Luka is a financial advisory professional with more than 20 years of experience in serving clients across Central Europe and EMEA. Decisive client- and results-driven leader with a track record of building and managing regional advisory teams and successfully advising clients in complex, cross-border M&A and restructuring transactions across a variety of industries.

Prior to the establishment of ION Advisory, Luka held the position of Financial Advisory Partner with Deloitte, where he headed the Central European Restructuring practice and Financial Advisory in the Adriatic region. Before joining Deloitte, Luka was Transaction Advisory Partner with EY working on M&A and restructuring transactions across Central Europe.

His key areas of expertise are M&A, corporate restructuring and turnaround, strategy, debt advisory, infrastructure advisory and business valuations.

Luka graduated in Finance and Banking from the Ljubljana School of Economics and holds a Master in Finance degree from the University of Amsterdam and an MA in Economics from the Central European University. He  has also attended Executive Education programs at Harvard Business School and INSEAD. Luka is fluent in Slovenian, English, Croatian/Serbian and speaks German and Italian.

Marko Mlakar

Marko Mlakar

Partner

Marko is an experienced management consultant with a 20-year successful track record working on C-level executive search assignments across Adriatic region and the wider CEE. He has completed more than 500 search assignments across all major industries, with a special focus on banking, insurance and private equity clients. He has supported international clients in their M&A activities, completing pre-deal human capital due diligences and post-deal placements of Chief Restructuring Officers and Interim Management turnaround roles.

In addition to his role in ION Advisory Marko is a Managing Partner at Amrop Adria and part of Amrop’s global NGC Committee. He is also the co-founder of FranklinCovey Adria, local partner of global leadership development firm FranklinCovey, specializing in performance improvement to help enable greatness for businesses in more than 160 countries. His key areas of expertise are executive search and selection, CRO/Interim management placements, leadership assessment, board consulting, leadership development and strategic business development.

Marko graduated in Marketing from the Ljubljana School of Economics and holds a Master in Business Finance degree from the University of Maribor. He is currently attending a PhD Programme in Economics and Business at the Ljubljana School of Economics. He has also attended Executive Education programs at IEDC Bled and IMD Lausanne. Marko is fluent in Slovenian, English and Croatian/Serbian.

Leon Batagelj

Leon Batagelj

Partner

Leon is an investment professional with more than 20 years of experience the Adriatic region. He has manged a number of investments in the region and lead and arranged their exit. Leon advised different clients on potential portfolio targets and expansion opportunities in a number of industries.

 

Prior to the establishment of ION Advisory, Leon was a partner managing (and liquidating) a private equity fund with investments in the region.  As part of his duties he served on the boards of the fund’s portfolio companies and was in charge of their exit. Following the fund’s liquidation, Leon acted as independent advisor to several clients in different M&A settings.

 

His key areas of expertise include M&A transactions, private equity, business development, and business performance and review.

 

Leon graduated in law from the Law School of University of Ljubljana and holds an LL.M. degree from the McGill University (Montreal, Canada) and LL.M. in International Business Law from the Central European University (Budapest, Hungary). Leon is fluent in Slovenian, English, and Serbian.

Peter Jerkič

Peter Jerkič

Senior Associate

Peter has more than 3 years of experience in the field of investment banking. Prior to the establishment of ION Advisory, he was a Senior Analyst at Lazard in Paris, France. Prior to Lazard, Peter worked as an intern at Raiffeisen Bank International‘s M&A department in Vienna, Austria. He graduated from Bocconi University in Milan (MSc in Finance).

 

Peter has worked on a number of M&A transactions across the CEE region with a focus on telecoms, retail, energy and e-commerce.

 

Patrik Trobec

Patrik Trobec

Senior Associate

Patrik has more than 3 years of experience in the field of financial advisory. Following his studies at the Faculty of Economics in Ljubljana he started his career at Deloitte Central Europe.  Prior to joining ION Advisory he worked as a Senior Associate within the Financial Advisory team based in Ljubljana.

 

His main areas of expertise are M&A and infrastructure advisory with a focus on investment documentation preparation (financial analysis, CBA analysis) and financing negotiation support.

 

Patrik has also positioned himself as an expert in EU funding advisory. He has advised governemnt bodies in the preparation of strategic and support documents for the programming of EU cohesion policy and has advised various clients on obtaining EU grant funding.

References

Lead M&A buy-side advisory in the acquisition of a leading CEE regional paints and coatings producer.

Chemicals

Lead M&A sell-side mandate in the disposal of the third largest electricity supplier in Slovenia.

Power & Utilities

Lead M&A sell-side in the disposal of a producer of transformers and tap changers for large-scale industrial applications based in Bulgaria.

Industrial Products

Lead M&A buy-side and diligence advisory to a telecoms national operator based in CEE on a number of targets in the IT industry.

Telecom

Lead M&A buy-side and diligence advisory to a telecoms national operator based in CEE on a number of targets in the IT industry.

Transportation & Logistics

Lead M&A buy side and diligence advisory to a producer and distributor of specialty pharmaceuticals on target in the pharma industry based in western Europe.

Life Sciences

Lead M&A sell-side in the disposal of hotels located on the Adriatic coast.

Hospitality

Lead M&A sell-side in the disposal of the on the market leading electronics retailer in Slovenia.

Retail, Wholesale & Distribution

Lead M&A sell-side in the disposal of an automotive OEM’s subsidiary located in the CEE.

Automotive

Lead M&A sell-side in the disposal of a leading producer of poultry in the SEE region.

Consumer Products

Lead M&A sell-side on oil storage facilities located in SEE.

Oil & Gas

Lead M&A sell-side on a leading supplier of turbo components to European OEMs.

Automotive

Lead M&A sell-side in the disposal of the No. 1 dairy producer in Slovenia.

Consumer Products

Lead M&A buy-side mandate on a bakery and confectionary business catering to the CEE markets.

Consumer Products

Lead M&A sell-side mandate in the disposal of a premium sporting goods manufacturer.

Consumer Products

Lead M&A buy-side mandate in the acquisition of a shoes and apparel manufacturer.

Consumer Products

Lead M&A sell-side advisory to a leading staff leasing company in the Adriatic region in relation to the entry of a strategic partner.

Business Services

Lead M&A sell-side advisory to a media company in the disposal of a minority share to a large multinational player.

Media & Entertainment

Lead M&A buy-side advisory to a regional telecommunications company in its expansion in the region.

Telecom

Lead and arranged  the disposal of a significant minority position in the leading drug wholesaler in Serbia.

Retail, Wholesale & Distribution

Lead and arranged the disposal of a regional telecommunications company with headquarters in Slovenia 

Telecom

Lead and arranged the disposal of the controlling minority position in the leading bank in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Banking

Operator of airport commercial areas in the Baltics, - Independent Business Review, restructuring options analysis.

Transportation & Logistics

Metal castings producer based in CEE – Independent Business Review, assessment of the company’s strategy and business plan for the purpose of debt restructuring and operational turnaround.

Industrial Products

Orchids producer catering to the EU markets – Independent Business Review including options analysis, preparation of operational restructuring plan, support in negotiations with lenders and suppliers.

Consumer Products

University hospitals in Central Europe with a total capacity of more than 4,000 patient beds – Preparation and implementation of an operational turnaround plan related to the influx of Covid-19 patients.

Healthcare

Croatian food & beverages companies  – performance assessment and implementation of restructuring measures under court-driven procedures resulting from the distress of Agrokor, Croatia’s leading retailer.

Consumer Products

Leading SEE publishing group – Independent Business Review and identification of operational, organizational and financial restructuring measures.

Retail, Wholesale & Distribution

Transportation & logistics company operating across the Adriatic region  – Independent Business Review, restructuring options analysis.

Transportation & Logistics

Leading Croatian shipbuilding company – Advising the management of the company on restructuring options within the pre-bankruptcy proceedings.

Transportation & Logistics

No. 1  hotel chain in Montenegro - Independent Business Review, preparation of an operational and financial turnaround plan and implementation support.

Hospitality

Leading poultry producer catering to the CEE, western European and CIS markets - preparation of financial and operational restructuring measures, support during negotiations with bank creditors and other stakeholders and support during the resulting M&A process.

Consumer Products

Producer of newsprint, coated graphic papers and wrapping/packaging papers based in Slovenia – Independent Business Review, preparation of restructuring options, support in negotiations with creditors and lead sell-side M&A.

Consumer Products

Leading supplier of turbo components to European OEMs – Strategic advice to shareholders on operational and financial restructuring.

Automotive

Advising and supporting EBRD in developing a formal set of out-of- court restructuring principles for the Hungarian banking market.

Banking

CEE manufacturer of automotive and industrial technologies – Independent Business Review, preparation of financial, operational and organizational restructuring measures, support during negotiations with bank creditors and other stakeholders.

Automotive

Supplier of forged metals and tools for the automotive industry  – Independent Business Review, preparation of financial and organizational restructuring measures, support during negotiations with bank creditors and other stakeholders.

Automotive

Leading retailer operating across SEE markets - Preparation of a common information platform and restructuring proposal for the lenders‘ consortium 

Retail, Wholesale & Distribution

Construction company based in Slovenia - Independent Business Review and preparation of financial and operational restructuring measures.

Construction

Leading insurance company in the Adriatic region - corporate strategy development including turnaround of their troubled operations.

Insurance

Leading drug wholesaler in Serbia – board member, business development, strategy and exit.

Retail, Wholesale & Distribution

Leading bank in Bosnia and Herzegovina – board member, supervision, business development and exit.

Banking

Advising 2TDK, a Slovenian state-controlled special purpose company, on project structuring and financing of the 2nd Track rail project with an estimated investment value of EUR 1.1bn.  Services included: overall project coordination, preparation of a Feasibility Study and Investment Programme, project finance modelling, financing structuring, support discussions and negotiations with the EC, IFIs and commercial banks.

Transportation & Logistics

Leading hospitality group in the Adriatic region, which manages 28 properties in prime tourist locations with more than 3,100 rooms – advising on the refinancing of the Group’s outstanding debt facilities, advisory on the group’s regional strategy and market positioning.

Hospitality

Mediterranean TEN-T corridor - Advising the European Commission on the development and funding requirements of Slovenia’s rail infrastructure. 

Transportation & Logistics

Preparation of a Feasibility Study and advising financing options and financial viability of a 600 MW coal fired power generating facility based in CEE.

Power & Utilities

Advising the Slovenian Government in negotiations with with Deutsche Bahn AG on the strategic partnership for the modernization of Slovenia‘s rail-network under a Logistics Holding structure including advisory on the financing structure.

Transportation & Logistics

Advising Krško Nuclear Power Plant (NEK) on the life extension options for the 700 MW nuclear power plant. Services included: capital structuring advisory, risk assessment, options analysis and assessment of financial implications.

Power & Utilities

Human capital advisory during the M&A buy-side of leading CEE paints and coatings manufacturer.

Chemicals

Post M&A leadership assessment of key employees following a merger of two large insurance companies.

Insurance

Post M&A leadership assessment of key employees in company's global sales organization

Industrial products

Leadership assessment of key employees prior to M&A closure with international private equity fund.

Rubber industry

MID Europa Partners, KKR, BC Partners, Innova, Apollo, PEPKOR, Provectus Capital Partners, EBRD, CBRE, SDH, DUTB

Private Equity Clients in the region

Restructuring & Turnaround executive placements: CEO, CTO, President of the Board, Member of the Board-Finance, Member of the Board-R&D, General Manager, CFO, Global Sales Director, CHRO, HR Manager, Quality Manager

Different industries across Adriatic region