(Adds bad loans, quote, details)
LJUBLJANA, May 24 (Reuters) - Slovenia’s largest bank, state-owned Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB), said group net profit in the first quarter of 2018 fell 29 percent to 57.7 million euros ($67.6 million), partly due to higher costs.
“The profit was lower than a year ago mainly because last year’s profit was boosted by a substantial release of provisions (for bad loans) in the first quarter of 2017,” the bank said in a report on Thursday.
The bank, which is expected to be privatised later this year or next year, said bad loans had fallen to 8.8 percent of all loans by the end of March, down from 12.7 percent a year earlier.
Balance sheet assets increased by 3 percent year-on-year to 12.4 billion euros, while costs were also up by 3 percent, with net interest rate income steady on the same period last year.
The bank said all of its subsidiaries abroad made profits. NLB has subsidiaries in Serbia, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro.
Slovenia has agreed to sell a majority of NLB in exchange for the European Commission’s approval of state aid to the bank in 2013.
Selling the bank will be one of the first tasks of the new government which will be formed after June 3 general election.
$1 = 0.8530 euros Reporting by Marja Novak; Editing by Alexandra Hudson and Mark Potter