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Slovenia Will Reduce Holdings in Banks, Insurer, Minister Says

Feb. 29 (Bloomberg) -- Slovenia will reduce holdings in its major financial firms, including Nova Ljubljanska Banka d.d. and insurer Zavarovalnica Triglav d.d., to lower public spending and avoid the need for government support.

“The government wants to keep the 25 percent stake plus one share in the major financial firms, Nova Ljubljanska Banka, Nova Kreditna Banka Maribor d.d. and Zavarovalnica Triglav if we want to carry out the fiscal consolidation,” Finance Minister Janez Sustersic told reporters in Ljubljana today. He said the government will aim to cut the budget deficit to about 3 percent of gross domestic product as it seeks to allay investors’ concern over its debt and “reduce the pressure” on government bond yields.

The government, via state agencies, holds majorities in the country’s two biggest lenders, NLB and Nova Kreditna, as well as in Zavarovalnica Triglav, it’s biggest insurer.

Slovenia, a euro-region member since 2007, wants to sell state assets to avoid injecting cash into unprofitable companies that threaten its deficit-reduction targets. NLB reported a loss of 239 million euros ($321 million) for last year and Nova Kreditna will probably also report a loss, its first since it sold shares to the public in 2007.

Triglav is the most profitable of the group as its nine-month profit rose to 35 million euros and the insurer aims to earn 61 million euros of net income in 2012.

To contact the reporter on this story: Boris Cerni in Ljubljana at bcerni@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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