March 27, 2019 / 7:36 PM / 24 days ago

Serbia's AIK highest bidder for Slovenian state-owned Abanka -report

LJUBLJANA, March 27 (Reuters) - Serbian bank AIK made the highest bid for state-owned Abanka with a 450 million euro ($507 million) offer for Slovenia’s third-largest lender, TV Slovenia reported on Wednesday,

Slovenia is aiming to sell the whole of Abanka by the middle of this year to meet the conditions of a deal to gain European Commission’s approval of state aid for it in 2013.

U.S. investment fund Apollo had offered 400 million euros, while Hungarian bank OTP was ready to pay 380 million for the Slovenian bank, TV Slovenia said, citing unofficial sources.

The Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SDH) told Reuters it will continue with the privatisation of Abanka, despite the replacement of SDH head Lidija Glavina, who has led Slovenia’s state privatisation body since 2016.

She will be replaced by economist Igor Krzan, who has been head of SDH’s supervisory board, on April 1.

SDH said that Glavina and the supervisory board had reached an agreement on her leaving the post, giving no further details.

SDH told Reuters it “does not comment the sales process”, while AIK, Apollo and OTP were not available for comment.

OTP is not present in Slovenia while Serbia’s AIK last month bought Slovenia’s seventh-largest bank Gorenjska Banka and Apollo owns the second-largest bank Nova KBM. ($1 = 0.8880 euros) (Reporting by Marja Novak Editing by Alexander Smith)

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