The Slovenia Times

NLB announces intention to float

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The announcement is expected to be followed on 26 October by a prospectus, which will include the price range for the initial public offering of at least 50% of NLB plus one share and up to 75% less one share.

Ten percent of the stock is to be offered to retail investors in Slovenia and the remaining stake to large institutional investors.

If everything goes according to plan, subscription of shares will be held in early November and the stocks will be floated in Ljubljana and London by mid-November.

The securities may be re-allocated from either the institutional tranche to the retail tranche or vice-versa depending on the level of subscription of each tranche, NLB said in the announcement released via the Ljubljana Stock Exchange.

"NLB Group is sustainably profitable and client-oriented provider of universal financial services, the largest in Slovenia and with leading positions in selected markets of Southeast Europe," NLB chairman Bla┼ż Brodnjak was quoted as saying.

"During the last years, it [the bank] has achieved a successful turnaround, resulting in a solid recurring financial and operational performance," Brodnjak added.

SSH chairman Lidia Glavina commented: "NLB has showcased a strong track record of performance in the past years and is expected to continue to demonstrate strong value creation for its stakeholders in its next stage as a privatized company."

The government committed to sell the bank in 2013 in exchange for the European Commission's approving a EUR 1.5bn state aid for the bank. At least 50% of the bank has to be sold by the end of the year and the remaining stake of up to 75% minus one share by the end of 2019.

Once the IPO prospectus is formed, it will be put forward for approval by the SSH supervisory board, but it may also be put forward to the government.

The announcement to float says that NLB is the largest banking and financial group in Slovenia with a 20.8% market share in loans to the non-banking sector and 24.6% in deposits from the non-banking sector.

"NLB is one of the largest players in asset management and private banking in Slovenia, with growing life and non-life insurance offerings," the announcement reads.

The group has recorded 18 consecutive profitable quarters since the fourth quarter of 2013, with total assets having increased by EUR 695m between 31 December 2015 and 30 June 2018.

The non-performing loans ratio decreased from 19.3% to 8.3%.

Restructuring efforts in international businesses resulted in all core bank subsidiaries being profitable in 2015, 2016 and 2017, mostly with significant year-on-year growth, the announcement said.

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