November 7, 2018 / 4:02 PM / 12 days ago

Serbia's AIK gets permission to take over Slovenia's Gorenjska Banka

LJUBLJANA, Nov 7 (Reuters) - The Slovenian central bank said on Wednesday it had granted Serbia’s AIK bank renewed permission to take over Slovenia’s Gorenjska Banka.

AIK tried to acquire Gorenjska earlier this year, but Serbia’s central bank withdrew its permission for the takeover after discovering irregularities in AIK’s operations, with the Bank of Slovenia then doing the same.

In a statement prepared for Reuters, the Bank of Slovenia on Wednesday said that permission for AIK to take over Gorenjska had been granted by the European Central Bank.

According to local daily newspapers Finance and Delo, AIK has rectified the irregularities and is likely to take over Gorenjska, which is Slovenia’s seventh largest bank measured by balance sheet assets, in the coming months.

AIK and Gorenjska were not immediately available for comment.

AIK currently holds a 33.1 percent stake in Gorenjska, the second largest owner behind Slovenia’s financial and tourism group Sava which has been trying to sell its 37.7 percent stake to reduce its debt.

Earlier this year Sava had accepted an offer from AIK to pay 298 euros per Gorenjska share, which would have valued the bank at 115.6 million euros ($132.52 million). The deal fell through after the two central banks revoked their permission for the takeover. (Reporting By Marja Novak, additional reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic in Belgrade; Editing by Kirsten Donovan)

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