NLB completes acquisition of Serbian bank

Ljubljana – Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB), Slovenia’s largest bank, has completed the acquisition of an 83.2% stake in Komercijalna Banka (KB) in Serbia, a move it describes as a milestone in its strategy of becoming the leading financial institution focused on Southeast Europe. NLB paid EUR 394.7 million for the stake.

The bank said on Wednesday it had secured all the regulatory approvals, including approvals from the European Central Bank and the National Bank of Serbia, after signing a share purchase agreement with the Serbian government in February.

“We are extremely proud that we have brought this acquisition process to an end in accordance with the timeline that we anticipated at the time of signing. The transaction is another important milestone in NLB Group’s transformation to become a regional champion,” NLB chief executive officer Blaž Brodnjak was quoted as saying.

Serbian Finance Minister Siniša Mali added that the closing of the transaction was “an important indicator of investor confidence in Serbia despite all of the challenges that the whole world faces this year”. “I am confident that with a clear vision and strategy, NLB is bound to bring fresh and positive energy to our financial sector.”

As a result of the transaction, NLB will become the third largest banking group in Serbia, the acquisition of KB increasing its market share from approximately 2% by total assets to over 12%.

Serbia thus becomes the second most important market for NLB after Slovenia, adding more than 800,000 active retail customers and 203 branches to NLB’s existing operations.

Through KB’s subsidiary banks in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro, the transaction will further strengthen our strong existing position in those two markets.

The acquisition will increase loans to customers of NLB Group by almost EUR 1.8 billion and deposits by approximately EUR 3.3 billion. KB achieved approximately EUR 170 million in net banking revenues in year 2019.

NLB and KB will continue working as separate banks in all markets where they are present until the legal mergers have been carried out.