Elan, the Slovenian ski and marine company, reports that it has formed a new entity, Elan Skupina, encompassing the activities of its ski and marine divisions from the start of June. These activities were previously split between two entities, Elan for the ski company and Elan Marine for the marine business. The two units will continue to operate as distinct divisions under Elan Skupina, in a move that is meant to capitalize on the global strength of the Elan brand.

Furthermore, Elan confirmed preliminary figures issued earlier this year, showing that its winter division reached a turnover of about €59 million last year, at about the same level as in 2008. The audited results further show a much improved net profit of €4 million. This was attributed to restructuring measures that weighed on Elan’s income in the last years, as well as a settlement reached with banks last December with regards to mortgages on real estate in Begunje, which enabled the company to release financial reserves.

Elan’s ski business is set for further growth this year, judging from pre-orders. They showed significant increases in all markets other than Canada, where weather conditions were unfavorable to the ski business in the last winter season. Overall pre-orders of Elan-branded products grew at solid double-digit rates, with particularly encouraging results in Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, France and the United States.

On the other hand, Elan declined to comment on the launch of an investigation by the European Commission in Brussels into capital injections of €20 million received by the Slovenian company, to find out if they contravened EU rules on fair competition. The commission reported that it had been alerted by a competitor to capital injections received in 2007 and 2008 by two subsidiaries of Elan. They stemmed from several unnamed companies owned by the Slovenian state and were not reported to the commission.

The commission stated that it had doubts about the status of the injections and that it would examine whether a private investor would have provided the same support. Under the “market economy investor principle,” the financial support then would be acceptable. The Slovenian authorities have already retorted that, in their view, the injection did not amount to state aid.