November 9, 2018 / 11:51 AM / 10 days ago

UPDATE 2-Slovenia moves to fulfil EU pledge with IPO of biggest bank

(Adds over-allotment, other details)

By Marja Novak

LJUBLJANA, Nov 9 (Reuters) - Slovenia is selling a 59.1 percent stake in its biggest bank, partly fulfilling a commitment to the European Union, in an initial public offering (IPO) valuing Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB) at 1.03 billion euros ($1.17 billion).

The sale to institutional and retail investors marks one of Slovenia’s largest privatisations and is a significant step in its pledge to sell 75 percent of NLB in exchange for European Commission approval of state aid for the bank in 2013.

NLB said in a statement on Friday it will list on the Ljubljana stock exchange on Nov. 14 at 51.5 euros per share, at the bottom of a range set in October.

“This is an important step in the process of privatisation and in fulfilling our commitments to the European Commission,” Lidia Glavina, head of privatisation coordinator Slovenian Sovereign Holding, was quoted as saying in the statement.

After the sale the biggest shareholders will be the state with 40.9 percent, Brandes Investment Partners with 7.6 percent and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development with 6.3 percent, NLB said, without giving details of other buyers.

If an over-allotment option of 5.9 percent of NLB shares is exercised in full, then a total of 65 percent of the bank would be in private hands. This option may be used by Citigroup Global Markets and Wood & Company Financial Services to stabilise the share price in the first 30 days of its trading, NLB said.

Slovenia aims to sell a further stake in NLB by the end of 2019, keeping a 25 percent holding in the long run to have a say in the bank’s key business decisions.

While NLB shares will trade on the Ljubljana bourse, its global depository receipts (GDRs) will be traded in London, with five GDRs representing one share. ($1 = 0.8814 euros) (Reporting by Marja Novak; editing by Kirsten Donovan/Jason Neely/Alexander Smith)

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