October 3, 2016 / 7:51 PM / 10 months ago

UPDATE 1-Slovenia halts privatisation of metal products maker MLM

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(Updates with details, background)

LJUBLJANA, Oct 3 (Reuters) - Slovenia has temporarily halted the privatisation of metal products maker MLM due to "insufficient interest" from potential investors, state-owned Slovenian Sovereign Holding, which is coordinating the privatisation, said on Monday.

"The process of the sale is expected to continue in the first half of 2017 when the results of (the) debt restructuring of MLM will be seen and when audited business results for 2016 will be available," SDH said in a statement.

MLM is one of 30 companies that are fully or partially owned by the state and are set to be privatised this year or next. The tender for MLM, which is 99.9 percent state-owned, was opened in January.

Last month SDH also postponed the sale of the country's largest bank Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB), which is the biggest firm on the privatisation list, partly due to increased market turmoil caused by Britain's decision to leave the European Union.

Slovenia, which narrowly avoided an international bailout for its banks in 2013, has been reluctant to sell its major companies and banks in the past decades and the government still controls about 50 percent of the economy.

Last week the new Finance Minister Mateja Vranicar Erman told Reuters that she saw no need for faster privatisation but added that she plans to work towards improving the management of state companies. (Reporting by Marja Novak; Editing by Alexander Smith)

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