April 13, 2018 / 11:58 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 1-Slovenian bank NLB's 2017 profit doubles as bad loans fall

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LJUBLJANA, April 13 (Reuters) - Slovenia’s largest bank Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB), which is due to be put up for sale later this year, made a group net profit of 225.1 million euros ($277.26 million) in 2017 versus 110 million a year before, partly due to a drop in bad loans.

NLB, wholly-owned by state, said bad loans fell to 9.2 percent of all loans by the end of 2017 from 13.8 percent a year before.

“This result is the best in the history of the NLB group,” NLB’s supervisory board said in a statement, which said the bank had significantly modernised its processes and services over the past year and made progress with its technological development.

The European Commission and the Slovenian government are holding talks on when Slovenia should start the sale of 75 percent of the bank.

Selling off 75 percent of NLB was a condition for gaining approval from the Commission’s for state aid to the bank in 2013.

But Slovenia’s 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 European 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.

$1 = 0.8119 euros Reporting By Marja Novak. Editing by Jane Merriman

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