August 5, 2014 / 3:16 PM / in 3 years

Slovenia invites binding bids for second-largest bank NKBM

LJUBLJANA, Aug 5 (Reuters) - Slovenia’s state investment firm SDH, which is in charge of selling state assets, on Tuesday invited investors to submit binding bids for Slovenia’s second-largest bank Nova KBM (NKBM).

“We expect the binding bids in October. The invited bidders are those which submitted completed bids in the first round and offered the best purchase terms,” SDH said in a statement.

It did not say who the bidders for 100 percent of state-owned NKBM were.

According to local media, Slovenia received six non-binding bids last month, including from two banks and four investment funds. Hungary’s OTP declined to comment on reports it was one of the interested banks.

Selling off state-owned companies is seen as a key component of Slovenia’s ability to stabilise its finances and its economy after the government had to spend 3 billion euros last year to rescue troubled banks and narrowly avoided having to seek an international bailout.

The outgoing government has earmarked 15 companies for privatisation, and has already sold two of them. Others on the list include NKBM, airport Aerodrom Ljubljana and telecom firm Telekom.

A recently formed centre-left party SMC, led by Miro Cerar, won the election last month but has yet to complete talks with coalition partners on forming the new cabinet.

Slovenia, which joined the European Union in 2004 and the euro zone in 2007, has for years been reluctant to sell major companies, citing national interests. Its economy is still largely state run. (Reporting by Almir Demirovic, writing by Igor Ilic in Zagreb, editing by David Evans)

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