Privatisation of NLB Approved, Price Range Will Be Announced Friday

By , 24 Oct 2018, 13:00 PM Business
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STA, 23 October 2018 - The supervisory board of Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH) endorsed on Tuesday all documents required for the initial public offering of NLB bank, allowing privatisation of Slovenia's largest bank to proceed. The price range will be revealed by the end of the week, presumably on Friday, when the prospectus is published. 

"The decision has been adopted, the procedure continues," SSH chief supervisor Damjan Belič told the press on Tuesday.

It was initially expected that the price range for the initial public offering would be revealed today, but the news will have to wait until Friday, when all the formalities are completed.

SSH chairwoman Lidia Glavina said the price range was "ambitious".

For the time being, it also remains unclear how much stock will be offered for sale.

Slovenia has to sell at least 50% plus one share and no more than 75% minus one share, with Glavina saying the actual amount of stock on offer would depend on demand.

If there is insufficient demand - bank stocks in Europe have recently been battered - or if offers are below the lower threshold of the price range, the transaction will be considered unsuccessful.

"After the prospectus is published, the price range and the number of shares cannot be changed," according to Belič.

Earlier today Prime Minister Marjan Šarec said SSH had to do its job when it came to pushing privatisation forward. "I hope the sale of NLB begins," he said.

Belič said the supervisors had not been informed about his demand because they had been in session since the morning without electronic devices.

Šarec's comments came in reference to SSH's reluctance to initiate the privatisation procedure in the summer, which eventually required an intervention by the Miro Cerar government.

The reactions of parliamentary parties to the green light were mixed, with the government parties and the opposition New Slovenia (NSi) stressing that commitments to the European Commission needed to be respected.

The strongest opposition came again from the Left, whose head Luka Mesec said Slovenia's sovereignty had obviously shrunk to a point when the state could no longer even set its own price for NLB - "instead the price was simply set for SSH by Deutsche Bank".

Franc Jurša of the coalition Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) also said he was a bit bothered by the asset valuer allegedly coming from Deutsche Bank, which is acting as adviser in the sale. Jurša fears Slovenia will not get back what it invested into the bank.

The NSi on the other hand is happy the sale is continuing, noting the state budget will also benefit through the sales proceeds. The party expects the new owner will act in a responsible way, preserve jobs and provide quality services.

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