The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has acquired a 6.25% stake in Nova Ljubljanska banka, one of the largest banks in Slovenia.

The acquisition was carried out during the first phase of NLB’s privatisation carried out by the government of Slovenia. The deal makes EBRD the second largest institutional investor in NLB.

During the NLB divestment process, the government sold a 59.1% stake in the bank through public offering of shares.

Based on the final offer price, the market capitalisation of NLB is said to be nearly €1bn.

EBRD director for financial institutions and EU banks Lucyna Stańczak-Wuczyńska said: “This is a major and very welcome moment in the development of NLB and the Slovenian banking sector.

“NLB’s first step to return to private ownership and a successful public offering of shares demonstrate the strong restructuring and recovery of the bank.

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“Equally important, it will strengthen further operational improvements and prudent growth which will benefit the bank’s commercial and retail customers.”

The NLB divestment

The divestment of NLB is a part of the Slovenian government commitment to the European Commission to restructure the bank.

Under the terms of the commitment, the government will hold 25% stake plus one share, and sell at least 50% plus one share this year.

As per the plan, the divestment of any outstanding share of up to 75% minus one share shall be carried out by the end of next year.

With a domestic market share of nearly 23% in total banking assets, NLB provides universal banking services.

The bank has 349 branches and serves around 1.8 million active customers