LJUBLJANA (Slovenia), November 13 (SeeNews) – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said on Tuesday it has acquired a 6.25% stake in Slovenia’s largest lender, Nova Ljubljanska Banka, as part of the privatisation of NLB agreed between the government and the European Commission.
“The acquisition was made in the first phase of NLB’s privatisation during which the government of Slovenia sold 59.1% of the bank in a public offering of shares,” the EBRD said in a press release.
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Based on the final offer price, the market capitalisation of NLB will be approximately 1 billion euro at the start of trading on the prime market of the Ljubljana Stock Exchange and the main market of the London Stock Exchange on November 14.
The EBRD also said it became the second largest institutional investor in NLB by acquiring 6.25% shareholding interest in the initial public offering of NLB shares on Friday. The EBRD was previously a shareholder in NLB between 2002 and 2008.
“NLB’s first step to return to private ownership and a successful public offering of shares demonstrate the strong restructuring and recovery of the bank,” EBRD’s director of financial institutions and EU banks, Lucyna Stanczak-Wuczynska, commented in the press release.
The offering of shares in NLB comes in response to the commitment of Slovenia undertaken as part of the restructuring plan of NLB agreed with the European Commission under state aid procedure in 2013. Back then, the Slovenian government stepped in to recapitalise NLB and two other lenders - NKBM and Abanka, narrowly avoiding an international bailout. The same year, Slovenia committed to the European Commission to sell part of NLB within four years.
“While the Slovenian state is to keep a stake of 25 per cent plus one share, it committed to sell at least 50 per cent plus one share this year, and any outstanding share of up to 75 per cent minus one share by the end of next year,” the EBRD said.
NLB is holding around 23% of total banking assets in Slovenia. It provides universal banking services and has a strong presence through its core subsidiaries in five countries of Southeast Europe.
($ = 0.88720 euro)