(Updates with details, background)
LJUBLJANA, March 3 (Reuters) - Slovenia’s largest bank Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB) expects to break even in 2014, a senior management official said on Monday, following a group net loss of 1.44 billion euros ($198.9 billion) last year.
Archibald Kremser, a member of the NLB’s management board, told a news conference the bank hoped for something better but realistically was looking at nothing more than break even.
Chief Executive Janko Medja said the bank could have a profit of between 10 million euros and 15 million, but this was assuming no extraordinary events during the year. He said bad loans still accounted for 20 to 25 percent of all NLB’s loans, which total some 9.5 billion euros.
The state-owned bank, bailed out by the Slovenian government late last year, said it would close 22 of its 143 retail units in Slovenia on April 1 in order to cut costs.
Slovenia narrowly avoided a bailout last year by overhauling the largely state-owned banking sector, with the government pumping 3.3 billion euros into troubled local banks. ($1 = 0.7240 euros) (Reporting by Marja Novak; Editing by David Holmes)