The Slovenia Times

NLB Restructuring Plan Sent to EU Commission


It is expected that the plan will be approved only after months of negotiations between the bank, the Commission and the state.

The press service of the European Competition Commissioner, Joaquin Almunia, confirmed for the STA on Tuesday that the Commission received the plan the previous evening.

The business daily Finance reported a few days ago about the 2012-2017 NLB restructuring programme. According to information obtained by the paper, the bank is to sell its leasing and factoring services in all markets.

This means the sale of Prvi faktor subsidiary and the closure or sale of all unprofitable subsidiaries abroad. These include the Swiss Interfinanz and Optima Leasing in Croatia, while LHB Franfurt has already returned its banking licence. The closure of the NLB Trieste subsidiary is also planned.

Moreover, the paper said that the plan prohibits the funding of any major construction projects, which have caused the biggest losses for the bank in the past.

The plan allegedly also prohibits the funding of financial holdings and loans to foreign companies.

After the restructuring, NLB's total assets are to be a third smaller compared to pre-crisis levels, unless Brussels insists on additional disinvestment. Since 2009, NLB's assets have shrunk by about a quarter.

Finance Minister Janez Šušteršič has previously said that the government would help the bank in negotiations with the Commission.

The state will become 86% owner of NLB after the announced acquisition of a 22% stake from Belgian bank KBC is completed. The state has recapitalised the bank twice since the beginning of the financial crisis: in 2011 it provided EUR 243m and a total of EUR 382.9m in 2012.


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