November 23, 2017 / 2:34 PM / a year ago

Slovenia to meet EU competition chief to discuss NLB sale

LJUBLJANA, Nov 23 (Reuters) - Slovenian Finance Minister Mateja Vranicar Erman will meet EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager on November 29 to discuss the sale of Slovenia’s largest bank Nova Ljubljanska Banka, Slovenia’s finance ministry said.

Slovenia had agreed to sell at least 50 percent of the state-owned bank by the end of this year as a condition for the Commission’s approval of state aid to the bank during a crisis in 2013.

But the government abandoned the sale process in June because the suggested price, which valued the bank at 1.1 billion euros ($1.30 billion), was too low.

The Commission last month rejected a proposal from Slovenia to delay the sale by up to three years.

Slovenia is now proposing that NLB pays about 365 million euros into a fund focused on funding small and medium sized businesses in exchange for being allowed to stay in state hands.

The Commission has not yet said whether that proposal would be acceptable. The Commission spokesman confirmed the meeting to Reuters but said: “We have no further comment at this stage.”

$1 = 0.8439 euros Reporting By Marja Novak. Editing by Jane Merriman

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