The Slovenia Times

Competition Commissioner Vestager to visit Slovenia soon


The minister announced the visit by Commissioner Vestager as he spoke to the press on the sidelines of an EU finance ministerial in Brussels.

The visit is likely to touch on NLB, 65% of which has been sold by the state, while around 10% has remained unsold, with the plan envisaging its sale by the end of 2019, Bertoncelj said.

He believes it would be good for NLB if the restrictive measures imposed by the European Commission on leasing and factoring services and the requirement to close certain offices are eliminated.

The government committed to sell 75% minus one share in the bank in exchange for the Commission's approval of a EUR 1.56bn state aid for NLB in late 2013.

The bank has since been under restrictive measures preventing its competitive advantage, as well as compensatory measures since the privatisation had been deferred several times.

NLB is bound by EU state aid rules to start proceedings to offload its insurance subsidiary NLB Vita by the end of 2019. It is the largest bank-owned life insurer in the Slovenian market and the third largest life insurance company.

The issue of the requirement to sell NLB Vita is of key importance, according to Bertoncelj, who said that the target was that the state owned 25% plus one share in NLB after a transitional period until May or June.

In the meantime, the government will try to find "satisfactory solutions", which include the freezing of its rights related to the unsold 10% in exchange for changes to the commitments. This is a reasonable proposal, he said.


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