The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has increased its stake in Slovenia’s largest bank Nova Ljubljanska banka (NLB) from 6.25% to 7.125%.
EBRD acquired the stake from the Slovenian Sovereign Holding (SSH), which sold 10% stake in NLB on the London Stock Exchange on 20 June 2019. EBRD, along with other institutional investors, acquired NLB’s shares.
NLB sold 1,999,999 of its ordinary shares, at a price of €54.75 (£49.08) per share and €10.95 (£9.82) per global depository receipt (GDR). SSH raised a total of €109.5m as proceeds from selling the shares.
By selling the shares, the Government of Slovenia reduced its stake in NLB to 25% plus one share, a level agreed with the European Commission.
NLB management board president Blaž Brodnjak said: “We will finally be able to start operating with our full potential at home and in the SEE market, as well as address the challenges of our competitors on a more equal ground.
“NLB will once again be able to start leasing and factoring activities and begin to invest even more intensively and without restrictions in digitization, development of new channels and the highest level of user experience.
“When the ban on mergers and acquisitions will be lifted in the beginning of 2020, NLB as regional specialist will be able to seek opportunities to strengthen our position as a system player in all the markets where we operate even more actively.”
In November 2018, the Government of Slovenia decided to sell 65% of the bank in a public offering. EBRD participated in the sale and purchased 6.25% stake and had become the second largest institutional investor in the bank.
NLB holds nearly 23% of total banking assets in the country. The bank provides universal banking services and is touted to have a strong presence through its core subsidiaries in five south east European countries.
With a network of 321 branches and about 6,000 employees, the bank serves 1.8 million active customers.
The EBRD signed its first project in Slovenia in 1993 and involved in 86 projects in the country to date. Previously, EBRD had been a shareholder in the Slovenian bank between 2002 and 2008.