* Bids for NKBM expected by July 3
* Binding bids for airport expected in July
(Adds quotes, details, background)
By Marja Novak
LJUBLJANA, May 22 Slovenia pressed on with two
planned privatisations on Thursday, calling for expressions of
interest in number two bank Nova KBM (NKBM) and saying it
expects binding bids for a controlling stake in its largest
airport Aerodrom Ljubljana in July.
The government invited investors to submit bids for 100
percent of NKBM, which was bailed out by the state in December,
to its advisers Lazard Freres by July 3, state investment fund
SOD, which is coordinating the sale, said in a statement.
It also said it invited some investors, who sent in
non-binding bids earlier this year, to file binding bids for
75.5 percent of Aerodrom by July.
The moves show the centre-left government is pushing ahead
with privatisations, although Prime Minister Alenka Bratusek
resigned earlier this month after losing a battle for the
leadership of the Positive Slovenia party.
A parliamentary election is expected to take place in July
NKBM received a state capital injection of 870 million euros
($1.2 billion) in December as part of a general overhaul of
local banks, needed for Slovenia to avoid an international
bailout. Some 1.22 billion euros of its bad loans have been
transferred to a state-owned "bad bank".
"Slovenia recapitalised the bank in 2013, which strengthened
its balance sheet and improved its asset quality," SOD said.
"That enables the bank to focus on ... doing business with
citizens and small- and medium-sized companies in Slovenia."
Aerodrom and NKBM, which has a deposit market share of about
14.1 percent in Slovenia, are two of 15 companies earmarked for
privatisation last year with the goal to increase budget revenue
and improve corporate governance.
According to local media, bad loans still represent about
24.9 percent of NKBM's total loans. The central bank has said no
further transfers from NKBM to the bad bank are planned and the
bank will have to deal with the remaining bad loans itself.
The bank had a net profit of 8.9 million euros in the first
quarter while its balance sheet assets reached 4 billion euros
at the end of March, up 2 percent on the end of 2013.
In February, the bank said it expected a net profit of 8.3
million euros in 2014 versus a net loss of 648 million in 2013.
Slovenian banks, mostly state-owned, piled up massive bad
loans through years of reckless lending. The government pumped
in some 3.3 billion euros of its own funds into the sector last
While NKBM is not listed, shares of Aerodrom eased 1.3
percent to 38.5 euros in morning trading, while the blue-chip
SBI index lost 0.3 percent. Aerodrom has a stock
market value of about 76 million euros.
($1 = 0.7318 Euros)
(Editing by Erica Billingham and David Holmes)