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LJUBLJANA, April 16 (Reuters) - Slovenia plans to privatise its second-largest bank Nova KBM this year, Finance Minister Uros Cufer said, as the government seeks to increase budget income and improve corporate governance.
Slovenia just avoided an international bailout last year by injecting some 3.3 billion euros ($4.56 billion) into its banks in December, of which NKBM received 870 million euros.
NKBM was earmarked for privatisation last year, among with another 14 state-owned firms.
In March, Slovenia chose auditing company KPMG to perform due diligence on the lender without saying when the bank could be sold.
“Our goal is to complete the whole transaction (privatisation) this year,” Cufer told a banking conference on Wednesday.
Privatisation is one of the main tasks of the centre-left government of Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek.
Slovenia was the fastest-growing euro zone member in 2007 when it joined the monetary union but was badly hit by the global crisis due to its dependency on exports.
Its banks, which are mostly state-owned, piled up large amounts of bad loans through years of reckless lending. Most bad loans of the country’s three largest banks, Nova Ljubljanska Banka, NKBM and Abanka Vipa, are due to be transferred to the state-owned bad bank by the end of April. ($1 = 0.7234 Euros) (Reporting By Marja Novak; Editing by Erica Billingham and Jason Neely)