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Slovenian Economy Needs EU4B of Added Liquidity, NLB CEO Says

Janko Medja, Chief Executive Officer of Nova Ljubljanska Banka d.d. speaks in interview in Slovenian capital Ljubljana yesterday.

On risks to economic outlook:

“Possible risks are political instability, causing delays in restructuring of the economy and a stop to the privatization process. The sale of coatings maker Helios, which is complete, and the possible sale of Mercator would, for example, bring about 1 billion euros ($1.4 billion) of liquidity to Slovenia. I estimate that the Slovenian economy needs about 4 billion euros of additional liquidity.”

On first quarter business:

“In the first quarter of 2014, NLB’s overall results are well in line with plans, both in the core business as well as in decreasing non-core assets, which is good news. We are complying with the promises Slovenia gave to the European Commission.”

On bad loans:

“The situation in this regard hasn’t worsened in the first quarter of 2014. Some corporate restructuring has progressed, but it isn’t yet finished. So, from a balance sheet point of view, not much has changed. When it comes to bad loans, one has to bear in mind that 70 percent of these are already covered by loan-loss provisions, and the remainder is mostly collateralized, so NLB does not expect high volatility of future results coming from non-performing loans.”

On political meddling:

“Our board is unanimous that there will be no political interference in the bank’s operations. There is no direct interference from politics, except in terms of adopting some pieces of legislation that make no professional sense. Various interest groups will, however, always fight to defend their fortresses, their fiefdoms, and they do so with intrigues, media spin and similar methods.”

On plans to expand to Croatia:

“No plans to expand into Croatia, because we are focused on restructuring NLB, and we also cannot afford such a project because we received state aid. This might someday fall into our long-term thinking.”

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