Slovenia's NLB Sale Model Will Fail to Attract Buyers, IMF Says

Slovenia’s proposed model of selling Nova Ljubljanska Banka d.d. will fail to attract strategic buyers due to the provision that no investor should have a larger holding than the state’s 25 percent, the International Monetary Fund said.

“I don’t know if the bank can be sold under such conditions," Nikolay Gueorguiev, the IMF’s representative, told reporters in Ljubljana Tuesday. "We are concerned that current conditions would not attract strategic investors that would further develop the bank.”

Slovenia is planning to sell its biggest bank, also know as NLB, as demanded by the European Union after the country rescued its mainly state-owned banks in 2013. While the sale of Nova Kreditna Banka Maribor d.d. is “imminent,” Prime Minister Miro Cerar’s government should also sell NLB and carry out a more comprehensive asset-sale program, Gueorguiev said.

Slovenia has been among the slowest of the former communist nations in eastern Europe to sell its state-owned enterprises. That contributed to the need for the government’s 3.2 billion-euro ($3.6 billion) bank-rescue package in 2013, when Slovenia narrowly averted an international bailout.

Slovenia will review its asset-sale strategy in June or July, Finance Minister Dusan Mramor said at the same event in Ljubljana.

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