September 1, 2017 / 2:43 PM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Slovenian bank NLB's half-year net profit up by 70 pct

(Updates with quote, details, background)

LJUBLJANA, Sept 1 (Reuters) - Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB) on Friday reported a 70 percent rise in first-half net profit to 117.9 million euros ($139.95 million), which it said was mainly due to lower costs and an improved loan portfolio.

The amount of bad loans fell to 12.6 percent of all loans from 12.7 percent at the end of March this year, Slovenia’s largest bank said.

“Given the positive backdrop in the macroeconomic environment the bank is experiencing higher demand in Slovenia and abroad, especially in the retail segment,” state-owned NLB said.

Apart from Slovenia, NLB also owns banks in Macedonia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia. Group balance sheet assets reached 12 billion euros at the end of June, up by 3 percent year-on-year.

In June, Slovenia abandoned plans to sell of 50 percent of NLB through an initial public offering, saying the expected price was too low.

The government is in talks with the European Commission about a potential sale of the bank at some stage in the future. Slovenia has to sell a majority stake in the bank in exchange for the European Commission’s approval of the state aid it received in 2013. ($1 = 0.8425 euros) (Reporting By Marja Novak; Editing by Greg Mahlich and Jane Merriman)

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