June 22, 2017 / 11:47 AM / 7 months ago

Slovenia expects decision on next step in NLB sale by early autumn

LJUBLJANA, June 22 (Reuters) - Slovenia hopes to reach agreement with the European Commission in early autumn on the next step in the sale of the country’s largest bank Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB), Finance Minister Mateja Vranicar Erman said on Thursday.

The government cancelled the planned sale of 50 percent of NLB earlier this month, saying the suggested sales price was too low.

Slovenia promised to sell 50 percent of NLB this year and another 25 percent in 2018 in exchange for the European Commission’s approval of state aid to the bank in 2013.

Erman told a news conference that talks with the Commission were ongoing and that he was due to meet EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager early next month to discuss the matter.

The Commission has not said what steps it could take regarding the cancelled sale of NLB but analysts expect Slovenia will push for the privatisation to be put off for several years. (Reporting By Marja Novak; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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