EBRD still interested in participating in NLB sale
EBRD has expressed its interest in talks to government representatives, according to Charlotte Ruhe, EBRD's managing director for Central and South Eastern Europe, told the STA on the margins of the Bled Strategic Forum.
"We have to consider it, we need to go through our investment process," she said, adding that it was still too early to discuss what kind of stake EBRD might be interested in taking.
But she pointed out that this was "a very important privatisation" and EBRD was very supportive of privatisation in general.
Asked about EBRD's rationale, she recalled that EBRD already had board approval last year to participate in the privatisation, but the attempt was cancelled because the government was dissatisfied with the price.
"But EBRD was all ready to go ahead then. Now we have to look at things again, because there will be a new price, a new situation, but certainly NLB privatisation is a key step forward for the Slovenian economy and something that we hope we will be in a position to support," she said.
EBRD had taken a 5% stake in NLB in 2002 as part of a partial privatisation of the bank but offloaded it in 2008, just before the financial crisis.
Ruhe said the bank was also looking for other investment opportunities in Slovenia, revealing that her delegation had held talks with the steel group SIJ, with which it is already partnering.
It is also interested in tourism, with Ruhe saying that "we want to help in the privatisation and unwinding of some of these cross-shareholdings".
Overall, it does not only want to help large firms, it is also interested in helping small businesses.