June 27, 2018 / 9:37 AM / 25 days ago

Slovenia NLB's shareholders decide to skip dividend payment

LJUBLJANA, June 27 (Reuters) - Slovenia’s largest bank, state-owned Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB), will not pay a dividend and will retain its entire accumulated profit for 2017, a shareholders assembly decided on Wednesday.

The total distributable profit of 270.6 million euros ($315 million), including 2017 net profit of 189.1 million euros, remains undistributed, the bank said in a filing to the Ljubljana Stock Exchange.

NLB, which is due to be put up for sale later this year or next, made a group net profit of 225.1 million euros in 2017 versus 110 million in 2016, mainly due to a drop in bad loans. But its net profit in the first quarter of 2018 fell 29 percent to 57.7 million euros, partly due to higher costs.

Slovenia has agreed to sell a majority of NLB in exchange for the European Commission’s approval of state aid to the bank in 2013.

But the centre-left government last year postponed the sale, saying the suggested price, which valued the whole bank at a minimum of 1.1 billion euros, was too low.

As a result the commission began an in-depth investigation into new commitments proposed by Slovenia regarding NLB which included plans to start selling off the government’s stake this year and for this to be completed in 2019. Selling the bank will be one of the first tasks of the new government which has yet to be formed following June 3 elections.

Outgoing Finance Minister Mateja Vranic Erman said on Tuesday his ministry would propose to the government next week the final version of the amended commitments regarding NLB, which include both the sales commitment and the accompanying compensatory measures. ($1 = 0.8587 euros) (Reporting by Maja Zuvela in Sarajevo)

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