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UPDATE 1-Slovenia to keep at least 25 pct of NLB, Krka and Petrol

Thu 14th May, 2015 3:07pm
(Adds quotes, details, background) 
    By Marja Novak 
    LJUBLJANA, May 14 (Reuters) - Slovenia will keep a stake of 
at least 25 percent in the country's biggest bank Nova 
Ljubljanska Banka (NLB), largest fuel retailer Petrol  PETG.LJ  
and drug firm Krka  KRKG.LJ , the finance minister said. 
    Minister Dusan Mramor told a news conference after a regular 
government meeting on Thursday that no single investor would be 
allowed to hold a bigger stake in those firms than the state, to 
ensure the government had a say in key business decisions. 
    He said the government would also keep a stake of at least 
25 percent in insurer Zavarovalnica Triglav  ZVTG.LJ , reinsurer 
Pozavarovalnica Sava  POSR.LJ  and financial and tourism firm 
Sava  SAVA.LJ , also with no other investor holding more. 
    Mramor said the European Commission had agreed NLB was "a 
systemically important bank" in Slovenia which is why the 
government would be allowed to keep a stake, although it has 
promised the Commission to gradually sell-off other banks. 
    Slovenia, which narrowly avoided an international bailout 
for its banks in 2013, has been reluctant to sell its major 
companies and the government still controls about 50 percent of 
the economy and 60 percent of the banking sector. 
    In 2013, the government earmarked 15 companies for sale. 
Four have been sold so far while bank Nova KBM and telecoms 
operator Telekom Slovenia  TLSG.LJ  are in the final stages of 
privatisation.  ID:nL5N0XI2H9   ID:nL6N0WT0J5  
    The government also said it plans to double the return on 
its ownership capital within three years and reach a return of 8 
percent in the long run. It did not give return figures now. 
    According to local media, Slovenia gets negligible returns 
on its ownership capital, which stands at about 11 billion euros 
($12.5 billion), or almost a third of the country's gross 
domestic product. 
    In 2013, the previous government had to pour more than 3 
billion euros into mostly state-owned local banks to prevent 
them from collapsing under a large amount of bad loans, avoiding 
the need for an international bailout.  
    The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development 
said last week Slovenia should pursue privatisation without the 
state keeping a controlling interest in firms that operate in 
competitive markets.  ID:nL5N0XV1T7  
($1 = 0.8777 euros) 
 
 (Editing by David Clarke) 
 ((Marja.Novak@thomsonreuters.com; +386-1-5058805; Reuters 
Messaging: marja.novak.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net)) 
 
Keywords: SLOVENIA COMPANIES/
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