LJUBLJANA, June 6 Slovenia will probably not go
ahead with plans to sell a stake in the country's largest bank,
state-owned Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB), at present, Deputy
Prime Minister Karl Erjavec said on Tuesday.
Slovenia had committed to sell 50 percent of NLB this year
and another 25 percent in 2018 in exchange for the European
Commission's approval of state aid for the bank in 2013.
Privatisation coordinator Slovenian Sovereign Holding asked
the government last week to set the price range for the planned
initial public offering of NLB but Erjavec said he
expected the government to decide against going forward with the
sale at its session on Thursday.
"I believe the process of the sale will probably not
continue," Erjavec told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting
of the governing coalition.
Erjavec, whose Desus party is a junior member of the
coalition, signalled that he believed that the price likely to
be achieved in the NLB sale was too low.
"The standpoint of Desus party is that the sale could go
through if the price was right, if taxpayers would be repaid and
if we would also earn something," he said.
Erjavec had said previously that the sale should bring in at
least 1.55 billion euros ($1.75 billion) - the size of the state
capital increase for NLB in 2013 - but analysts believe Slovenia
could at most get some 1 billion euros for the whole bank.
The European Commission has not revealed what steps it would
take if Slovenia failed to sell NLB but a Commission
spokesperson told Reuters that the EU executive was in contact
with Slovenian authorities.
Slovenia has been reluctant to sell its major banks over the
past decades so the government still controls about 45 percent
of the banking sector.
($1 = 0.8870 euros)
(Reporting by Marja Novak; Editing by Adrian Croft)