LJUBLJANA (Slovenia), November 13 (SeeNews) – The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) said on Tuesday it is making an equity investment of 64.4 million euro ($72.5 million) in Slovenia’s largest lender, Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB).
“The project supports an important privatisation in Slovenia, in response to the commitment of the Republic of Slovenia undertaken as part of the restructuring plan of NLB agreed with the European Commission in 2013 when the state aid contribution was approved, as later amended,” the EBRD said in a press release.
Ealier on the day, the EBRD said it has acquired a 6.25% stake in NLB, becoming the second largest shareholder in the bank.
“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.
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 offering comprises 11,818,181 shares of NLB being sold by the government, representing 59.1% of NLB's issued share capital plus one share on admission and equating to an offer size of 608.6 million euro.
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.
The lender also said the total cost of the project amounts to 608.6 million euro for 59.1% of NLB's issued share capital.
($ = 0.8872 euro)
Nova Ljubljanska Banka d.d. is among the biggest banks in SEE, for more reference take a look at Top 100 banks