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EBRD considers buying stake in Slovenia's Nova Ljubljanska Banka, Abanka

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EBRD considers buying stake in Slovenia's Nova Ljubljanska Banka, Abanka

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will look into purchasing stakes in Slovenian state-controlled lenders Nova Ljubljanska banka d.d. and Abanka d.d., Reuters reported, citing Pierre Heilbronn, EBRD's vice president for policy and partnerships.

Heilbronn said the multilateral bank could purchase stakes depending on the conditions, but he did not say what percentage stake EBRD is eyeing, according to the report.

The Slovenian government is looking to sell 75% of NLB and 100% of Abanka under conditions set by the European Commission for the bank's 2013 receipt of state aid.

To comply with European state aid rules, Slovenia had agreed with the EC to sell 50% of NLB shares in 2017 and a further 25% in 2018. However, the government halted the sale plan in 2017 on price grounds and sought, but failed to receive, EC permission to delay the transaction until 2019. In August, the EC approved the country's new plan for privatizing NLB, under which Slovenia will sell off 50% plus 1 share of the lender by 2018-end, with an ultimate goal of selling 75% minus one share by the end of 2019.

Andrej Bertoncelj, Slovenia's incoming finance minister, previously said the government intends to sell the state's majority stakes in NLB and Abanka by 2019-end.