June 17, 2019 / 12:39 PM / 4 months ago

Slovenia postpones decision on Abanka sale until Wednesday

FILE PHOTO: A man and a child walk past the office building of Abanka bank in Ljubljana December 12, 2013. REUTERS/Srdjan Zivulovic/File Photo

LJUBLJANA (Reuters) - The Slovenian state body in charge of privatization said it postponed its supervisory board meeting to discuss the sale of lender Abanka until Wednesday to have more time to study the bids.

Slovenian Sovereign Holding’s (SDH) board was due to meet on Monday and choose among the bidders for the country’s third largest bank.

Daily Delo reported on Friday that SDH received two bids for Abanka, with U.S. investment fund Apollo offering more than the second bidder, Hungary’s OTP. According to Delo both bidders are offering about 400 million euros ($449.24 million).

SDH, OTP and Apollo refused to comment.

It is expected that the SDH will ask the government to make the final decision on the sale of Abanka after Prime Minister Marjan Sarec and several coalition and opposition parties expressed doubt over the past weeks on whether Abanka should be sold.

Abanka received state aid worth almost 600 million euros in 2013 and 2014 which prevented it from collapsing under a large pile of bad loans.

The European Commission approved state aid in exchange for Slovenia’s promise to sell the bank by the middle of 2019.

Reporting by Marja Novak, editing by Louise Heavens

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