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Slovenia’s NLB to proceed with launch of IPO

Slovenia’s NLB to proceed with launch of IPO Author: NLB. License: All rights reserved.

LJUBLJANA (Slovenia), October 15 (SeeNews) – Slovenia's state-owned lender Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB) said on Monday it intends to proceed with a public offer of its shares on the Ljubljana Stock Exchange (LJSE) and the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

NLB will offer at least 50% of the company’s existing shares plus one share and up to 75% of the company’s existing shares less one share currently owned by the selling shareholder in an institutional offering of shares to be listed on the LJSE and global depositary receipts (GDRs) representing shares to be listed on the LSE, and a public offering of shares and GDRs in Slovenia, the bank said in said in a statement.

"NLB Group is sustainably profitable and client-oriented provider of universal financial services, the largest in Slovenia and with leading positions in selected markets of Southeastern Europe. During the last years, it has achieved a successful turnaround, resulting in a solid recurring financial and operational performance," Blaz Brodnjak, president of the management board of NLB, said in the statement.

“We now look forward to addressing newly arising opportunities and challenges in a new era of our operations after privatization, during which we will continue creating value for our esteemed clients and other stakeholders,” Brodnjak added. "That is why today’s announcement is such an
important milestone."

NLB is a financial and banking group based in Slovenia with a network of 349 branches as at 30 June 2018, of which 108 branches operate in Slovenia and 241 operate in the banking markets of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. It is the leading bank in the Slovenian market with a market share of 23.2%, according to data from the country's central bank as of 30 June 2018.

NLB recorded a net profit attributable to shareholders equal to 104.8 million euro ($120.7 million) in the first half of 2018.

Slovenia's government said in July it has decided to launch an initial public offering (IPO) of NLB by the end of 2018. The government aims to sell at least 50% plus one share of the capital of NLB through an IPO by the end of the year and to dispose of a further 25% plus one share in 2019, it said back then.

NLB showed a minor capital shortfall under the adverse scenario of the stress test conducted by the European Central Bank in October 2014.

Nova Ljubljanska Banka has been 100% state-owned since 2013, when the Slovenian government stepped in to recapitalise it 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.

In April, the European Commission said the aid granted to NLB by Slovenia in 2013 is unlawful because the government has failed to deliver on its commitment to sell the bank by the end of 2017.

The partial sale of Slovenia's shares in NLB is a key commitment to ensure NLB's long-term viability, on the basis of which the Commission was able to approve significant state aid to NLB in December 2013, the European Commission said at the time.

($ = 0.86497 euro)