The Slovenia Times

Inter-Governmental Dispute About Privatisation


According to Šušteršič, who has been arguing that insisting on a controlling stake as stipulated in the coalition agreement is driving away potential buyers, the SLS's decision eliminated an important option for resolving the situation of the banks.

Coming out of a session of the DL council, which saw general indignation in the face of the prospect of having to again recapitalise the banks with public funds, the minister said the refusal the sell fully would probably entail more funding by taxpayers.

He said that given what had been established about the sate of the banks in recent months he had expected more understanding.

Contrary to the SLS, the coalition New Slovenia (NSi) okayed on Friday the relevant changes to the coalition agreement, which require the consent of all ruling parties, while the Democrats (SDS) and Pensioners' Party (DeSUS) still remain to discuss the proposal.

Šušteršič is disappointed that at least a conditional green light had not been given to talks on also giving up on controlling stakes, but does not exclude the possibility of "proposing this again in six or 12 months in case there is no interest to invest in the banks".

The minister said he did not plan to give up "over one issue" and announced alternative solutions, explaining that the first step in banks was securing fresh capital.

He for instance noted that the tweaked banking act just adopted and exempting capital providers from immediately publishing takeover bids, allowed for Abanka, the no. 3 bank, to be recapitalised by only some of the owners. The readiness to do so has been expressed above all by state-owned insurer Zavarovalnica Triglav, he said.

As regards NKBM, he pointed to the issue of EUR 100m in contingent convertible bonds and to efforts in recent weeks to also fund private investors for the bonds. If this fails "the state will have to do this at least as a temporary solution".

He said that there was more time at NLB, where capital does not need to be secured by the end of the year. A programme can already be drawn up, with Šušteršič hoping it will be able to include a solution involving the bad bank.

The first step on the part of the state is to transfer the bad claims, while banks need to sell their assets. The minister sees no reason for "banks holding real estate while at the same time claiming they have no capital".

Repeating that private investors should be sought after the banks are purged of bad claims, he said that recapitalisation with taxpayer money remained the last resort, which had was however become more probable with the SLS's decision.


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