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LJUBLJANA (Slovenia), October 24 (SeeNews) – Slovenia's sovereign holding company SDH said it has approved the minimum price and the price range of the shares and the global depositary receipts of Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB), opening the way for the planned floating of the state-owned bank to proceed.
NLB said last week it intends to go ahead with a public offering of its shares on the Ljubljana Stock Exchange (LJSE) and the London Stock Exchange (LSE).
The SDH’s supervisory board granted its consent to make applications for the global depositary receipts (GDRs) to be admitted to listing on the official list of the UK Financial Conduct Authority and the admission to trading of the GDRs on the LSE, the state holding company said in a press release late on Tuesday.
The SDH also granted its consent to the underwriting agreement to be entered into in connection with the offering of the shares and the GDRs.
"All additional information and documents in relation to the offering will be disclosed in the announcements during this week," SDH said.
SDH is managing state-owned assets in Slovenia and runs their privatisation.
NLB will offer at least 50% of its existing shares plus one share and up to 75% of the existing shares less one share currently owned by the selling shareholder in an institutional offering of shares to be listed on the LJSE and GDRs representing shares to be listed on the LSE, and a public offering of shares and GDRs in Slovenia, the bank said last week.
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 of 104.8 million euro ($120.7 million) in the first half of 2018.
Slovenia's government said in July it has decided to launch an initial public offering of NLB by the end of 2018. The government aims to sell at least 50% plus one share of the capital of NLB through an IPO by the end of the year and to dispose of a further 25% plus one share in 2019, it said back then.
NLB showed a minor capital shortfall under the adverse scenario of the stress test conducted by the European Central Bank in October 2014.
Nova Ljubljanska Banka has been 100% state-owned since 2013, when the Slovenian government stepped in to recapitalise it and two other lenders - NKBM and Abanka, narrowly avoiding an international bailout. The same year, Slovenia committed to the European Commission to sell part of NLB within four years.
In April, the European Commission said the aid granted to NLB by Slovenia in 2013 is unlawful because the government has failed to deliver on its commitment to sell the bank by the end of 2017. The partial sale of Slovenia's shares in NLB is a key commitment to ensure NLB's long-term viability, on the basis of which the Commission was able to approve significant state aid to NLB in December 2013, the European Commission said.
($ = 0.87193 euro)