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Slovenia Business Week no. 18: Second Largest Slovenian Bank to Be Listed by End of 2007

According to Bajuk, 49% of the bank will be floated and is expected to land in the hands of institutional investors

Nova Kreditna banka Maribor, Slovenia's second largest bank, is to be listed on the Ljubljana Stock Exchange before the year end, Finance Minister Andrej Bajuk told the press in Ljubljana on Friday, 11 May. According to Bajuk, 49% of the bank will be floated and is expected to land in the hands of institutional investors.

Presenting the plan for the privatisation of the bank, Bajuk added that a banking and insurance holding will be created around the NKBM in a year and a half. The holding is to include insurers Zavarovalnica Maribor, Tilia and reinsurer Pozavarovalnica Sava and will be based in Maribor.

The finance minister also said that the privatisation and creation of the holding needed to take place at the same time, as the NKBM owned 50% of Zavarovalnica Maribor and the cabinet wanted the procedure to be transparent.

The remaining 51% of the NKBM will remain on ice for the time being. As the bank is one of Slovenia's key financial institutions, the state wants to keep a 25% stake plus one share, Bajuk said.

The sale of the 49% stake will begin at once and should be completed by the end of the year at the latest. It will be carried out through a public offering, the first case of such a procedure in Slovenia, he said.

The bank has 2.2 million shares and Bajuk believes that the state could get 2.5 to 3 times the price of the book value of NKBM, which stood at EUR 97.17 at the end of March, according to the bank's data.

The financial adviser on the sale will be the US-based Citigroup banking group and a due diligence of the group is expected to be launched in the coming days.

The NKBM will be listed on the stock market at the same time as the 49% stake is sold, however, the 51% stake will not be put up for sale.

Te plan also calls for a merger of the three insurers which would then specialise in life insurance, property insurance and reinsurance.

The government discussed the privatisation programme on Thursday, 10 May, when it decided that it needed amendments. Government spokesperson Valentin Hajdinjak told the press that Bajuk would outline the finalised programme in the coming days.

The state currently holds a 90% stake in the NKBM.

Source: Slovenian Press Agency STA

Author: STA, Slovenian National Press Agency