Deutsche Bank selected as financial adviser for sale of Slovenia's NLB

By bne IntelliNews April 1, 2016

The supervisory board of Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) appointed Deutsche Bank as financial adviser on the upcoming sale of Slovenia's largest state-owned lender Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB) at a meeting held on March 30, according to SSH’s press release published on its website on March 31.

SSH announced on December 3 that NLB’s privatisation will be launched in 2016, but it expects NLB will be challenging to offload. NLB, which was nationalised in 2013, is the largest of around 20 companies SSH plans to sell off in 2016. Under the strategy, the state should keep 25% plus one share in the bank, a SSH spokesperson confirmed to bne IntelliNews.

SSH told Reuters on March 31 a contract with Deutsche Bank would be signed on March 31 or April 1.

Finance minister Dusan Mramor said the government would reconsider the sales conditions for NLB in June or July, and possibly change them to attract more investors, after the International Monetary Fund advised the country to rethink its strategy.

The Slovenian government launched a €4.8bn bailout in 2013 when its largest banks were hit by the eurozone crisis, and the government is now looking to exit is holdings in the sector. NLB is due to be sold by the end of 2017 under an agreement between Slovenia and the European Commission.

NLB, which was nationalised in 2013, is the largest of around 20 companies SSH plans to sell off in 2016. The state holding company, which is managing the privatisation process, also hopes to complete the sales of Adria Airways, auto-components manufacturer Cimos and hygienic paper company Paloma.

NLB Group, which includes NLB, increased its net profit to €91.9mn in 2015, up 47% compared to 2014, the company announced on March 7 in its latest annual unaudited financial report. NLB, with its stand-alone result of €43.9mn, contributed the most to the NLB Group's result.

Moody’s Investor Service said on February 10 it has affirmed the long-term deposit ratings of three Slovenian lenders including NLB at B2.

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