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LJUBLJANA Dec 2 Slovenia's largest bank Nova
Ljubljanska Banka (NLB), which is due to be privatised next
year, reported a group net profit of 91.5 million euros ($97.45
million) in the first nine months of 2016, up 18 percent on the
same period in the previous year.
The state-owned bank also said on Friday bad loans fell to
14.5 percent of all loans, down from 19.3 percent at the end of
The bank said the profit increase was mainly the result of
its improved loan portfolio which helped to compensate for lower
interest rate margins.
"High competition in the Slovenian banking sector is causing
further lowering of interest rates ... which influences
profitability and stresses the need for further consolidation of
the banking system," NLB said.
The bank, which was rescued by the state in 2013 and has to
be sold by the end of 2017 to meet European Commission
requirements, said its balance sheet assets had risen by 1
percent since the end of 2015.
In September, Slovenia's privatisation coordinator, the
Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SDH), said the decision to start
the sale of NLB will be made after its full year results are
published, which is expected in March.
The government plans to keep a stake of 25 percent in the
bank in order to have a say in major business decisions while
the rest is expected to be sold in an initial public offering
Although the government controls more than 40 percent of the
country's banking sector, a number of foreign banks also operate
in Slovenia, including France's Societe Generale,
Italy's UniCredit and Intesa Sanpaolo,
Russia's Sberbank and Austria's Sparkasse and Addiko
($1 = 0.9390 euros)
(Reporting By Marja Novak. Editing by Jane Merriman)