Slovenia Targets Sale of Biggest Bank NLB To Meet EU Terms

  • NLB sale may involve IPO, sale to strategic investor
  • Nova KBM sale to Apollo Global may be concluded in March

The Slovenian Sovereign Holding will focus on selling the country’s biggest lender Nova Ljubljanska Banka d.d. next year as demanded by the European Union after the country rescued its banks in 2013.

The agency managing state-owned assets is committed to extend the sale process that was started by the previous administration of Alenka Bratusek and expanded by the current government of Prime Minister Miro Cerar, said Marko Jazbec, the president of the holding’s management board.

“The current strategy foresees an initial public offering for NLB, but we will
try and expand that in talks with the government to possibly include a sale to
a strategic partner,” Jazbec told reporters in Ljubljana Thursday. “The NLB sale will be biggest challenge.”

The Adriatic nation was forced to rescue its mostly domestically owned banks in 2013 with a 3.2 billion euros ($1.06 billion) capital boost to avoid an international bailout similar to those of Greece and Ireland. Now, the government is seeking to recoup part of that money by selling some of the lenders.

The Holding will complete the sale of Nova Kreditna Banka Maribor d.d., Slovenia’s second biggest lender by assets, to Apollo Global Management LLC in March, after agreeing on the transaction in June, Jazbec said. The U.S. asset manager wants to buy other Slovenian banks to create the country’s largest lender, Finance newspaper reported in July.

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