September 8, 2017 / 12:36 PM / a year ago

Bad loans fall at Slovenian banks in July as economy grows

LJUBLJANA, Sept 8 (Reuters) - Bad loans in Slovenian banks totalled 3 billion euros ($3.6 billion) or 7.3 percent of all lending at the end of July, down from 7.5 percent in June and 8.5 percent at the end of 2016, the Bank of Slovenia said on Friday.

Robust economic growth and banks successfully working through their portfolios has been steadily bringing the level of bad loans down in Slovenia over recent years.

The government expects GDP growth of at least 3.6 percent this year, based on rising exports and investment while the OECD forecasts Slovenia’s GDP growth this year of 4.5 percent.

Slovenia’s government poured more than 3 billion euros into its banks at the end of 2013 to prevent them from collapsing under bad loans representing about a fifth of all lending.

The move also meant Slovenia managed to narrowly avoid an international bailout, although some of the biggest banks in the country are still state-owned and the government controls about 45 percent of the banking sector.

The rest are owned by foreign banks and investors, including U.S. investment firm Apollo Global Management, France’s bank Societe Generale, Italy’s Unicredit and Intesa Sanpaolo, Russia’s Sberbank, Austria’s Sparkasse and Addiko Bank. ($1 = 0.8289 euros) (Reporting by Marja Novak; editing by Alexander Smith)

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