June 28, 2019 / 9:55 AM / 21 days ago

Serbia's Komercijalna bank sale attracts interest -report

BELGRADE, June 28 (Reuters) - Serbia’s planned sale of its second-biggest lender Komercijalna Banka has attracted interest from Raiffeisen bank, NLB bank and a U.S.-European consortium among others, Belgrade’s daily Danas reported on Friday.

The Serbian government plans to sell up to 83.23% of Komercijalna shares and in May announced criteria for potential bidders.

The finance ministry said this week that it had received six valid letters of interest, but gave no details.

Danas, citing unnamed sources, said that by June 21, six banks including Austria’s Raiffeisen, Serbia’s AIK Banka and Slovenia’s NLB had expressed interest. A consortium comprised of U.S.-based Ripplewood Advisors, Serbia’s Direktna Banka and Greece’s Eurobank had also expressed interest, Danas said.

Serbia plans to privatise Komercijalna and other assets under a 30-month monitoring programme agreed with the International Monetary Fund.

In March Raiffeisen Bank did not rule out potential interest in buying Komercijalna Banka, and NLB bank also said it was interested in expanding in the region.

The Serbian state is the single largest shareholder in the bank, holding 41.75%. Komercijalna Banka’s CEO Vladimir Medan has forecast the lender’s 2018 consolidated profit would be around 8.35 billion dinars ($80 million), the highest in a decade.

Serbia’s finance ministry said in a notice in May that bidders for a majority stake in Komercijalna Banka must have been engaged in banking for the past three years and have assets of more than 1 billion euros ($1.1 billion), or own a minimum 20% stake in a banking group, among other criteria.

$1 = 103.4100 Serbian dinars Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Susan Fenton

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