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Slovenia to proceed with Nova Ljubljanska banka float

The government of Slovenia is pressing ahead with an IPO of Nova Ljubljanska banka d.d., in which the state will offer up to 75% of the bank's current shares minus 1 share.

The state, through holding company Slovenski državni holding d.d., will sell at least 50% plus 1 share of the bank's current stock, through an institutional and a public offering of shares on the Ljubljana Stock Exchange and of global depository receipts on the London Stock Exchange.

"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," said Blaž Brodnjak, management board president of NLB.

A tenth of the shares in the IPO will be offered to Slovenia-based investors, and the rest to institutional investors. The state can also reallocate shares from or to the retail and institutional tranches depending on the subscription level of each tranche.

The bank was nationalized in 2013 as part of the bailout of the Slovenian financial sector. At least half the bank was due to be privatized by the end of 2017, but the government postponed the sale in light of market conditions, requesting and ultimately being denied European approval to delay the transaction until 2019.

In August 2018 the EC approved a new plan, which included a requirement to sell 50% plus 1 share of the bank by the end of 2018 and 75% minus 1 share by the end of 2019. Other conditions were also imposed or extended, including a requirement that insurance unit NLB Vita d.d. be sold if the bank is not fully privatized by the end of 2018.

Deutsche Bank AG, London branch, and J.P. Morgan Securities PLC will act as joint global coordinators and joint book runners on the IPO, with Citigroup Global Markets Ltd. as joint book runner and Wood & Co. Financial Services as co-lead manager. NLB will also be a domestic co-lead manager.

The proceeds from the offering will be used in line with Slovenia's Public Finance Act and for the country's budget for 2018 and 2019. The prospectus for the IPO is expected to be published Oct. 26.