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Slovenia's Gorenjska Banka sees profit slipping after doubling last year

Wed 15th March, 2017 12:04pm
LJUBLJANA, March 15 (Reuters) - Slovenia's Gorenjska Banka, 
which is up for sale, said margin pressure means its net profit 
is likely to slip in 2017 after virtually doubling last year on 
reduced bad loans. 
    One of Slovenia's smaller banks, Gorenjska was among the 
worst hit by the country's banking crisis, which pushed the euro 
zone member to the brink of an international bailout in 2013.  
    It returned to profit in 2014 and reported a net profit of 
6.3 million euros ($6.7 million) for 2016 on Wednesday, up from 
3.2 million euros in 2015, as it reduced bad loans to 195 
million euros, or 11.3 percent of all loans by the end of 2016. 
That was down 6 percentage points from a year earlier. 
    Chief Executive Andrej Andoljsek said profit was likely to 
fall this year due to declining margins in the banking sector, 
caused by very low interest rates in the euro zone. 
    Gorenjska has been up for sale since last year, after the 
Bank of Slovenia ordered majority shareholder, finance and 
tourism group Sava  SAVA.LJ , to sell, saying the indebted group 
was not financially strong enough to support Gorenjska.  
    Serbia's AIK Banka  AIKB.BEL , Gorenjska's second largest 
shareholder, is the likely buyer. It has said it hopes to take a 
majority stake in Gorenjska and gained approval from Slovenia's 
central bank last month to increase its stake to more than 50 
percent, from 19.8 percent currently. 
    Gorenjska said it could not comment on the sale process.  
    The bank's balance sheet assets rose by 4.3 percent last 
year to 1.5 billion euros and it expects a similar growth in 
assets this year, Chief Executive Andrej Andoljsek told a news 
conference. 
    Bad loans should also fall further this year, he said. 
    AIK was not immediately available for comment on whether and 
when it might take over Gorenjska. Gorenjska's other main 
shareholders are local companies. 
    Some of the biggest banks in Slovenia are still state-owned 
and the government controls about 45 percent of the banking 
sector.  
    The rest are owned by foreign banks and investors, including 
US investment firm Apollo Global Management  APO.N , France's 
bank Societe Generale  SOGN.PA , Italy's Unicredit  CRDI.MI  and 
Intesa Sanpaolo  ISP.MI , Russia's Sberbank  SBER.MM , Austria's 
Sparkasse and Addiko Bank. 
     
 
 
($1 = 0.9412 euros) 
 
 (Reporting By Marja Novak; Editing by Susan Fenton) 
 ((Marja.Novak@thomsonreuters.com; +386-1-5058805; Reuters 
Messaging: marja.novak.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) 
 
Keywords: GORENJSKA RESULTS/
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