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Sava's state shareholder wants more time for AIK Banka to buy Gorenjska stake

Slovenian Sovereign Holding asked shareholders of financial conglomerate Sava to give Serbia-based AIK Banka a.d. Beograd additional time to gain regulatory clearance for the purchase of a 37.6% stake in Slovenian lender Gorenjska banka dd Kranj, the Slovenia Times reported March 22.

The state holding company, which together with state-run pension fund manager KAD owns a 45.13% stake in Sava, asked the company's other shareholders to extend the March 16 sale deadline at an upcoming April 16 shareholder meeting, arguing that the divestment of Gorenjska shares is one of the most important measures in Sava's financial restructuring program, the report noted.

AIK Banka, which already owns a 20.99% stake in Gorenjska, agreed to acquire Sava's stake in the lender at the end of January, conditional on receipt of regulatory approval within 45 days. However, the Serbian lender had to ask Sava to prolong the deadline after it failed to gain the clearance of the Serbian central bank and the approval of the Slovenian central bank expired at the end of February, the Slovenia Times said.

Reuters reported in January that the Serbian central bank had withdrawn its approva for the takeover due to irregularities in AIK Banka's operations.