October 26, 2018 / 10:56 AM / a year ago

UPDATE 2-Slovenia seeks IPO valuation of up to $1.5 bln for NLB bank

* IPO price range set at 51.50-66.00 euros per share

* Values Slovenia’s largest bank at 1.03-1.32 bln euros

* Slovenia must sell stake after EU approved state aid (Updates with details, background)

By Marja Novak

LJUBLJANA, Oct 26 (Reuters) - Slovenia has set the price range for the initial public offering (IPO) of state-owned Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB), valuing the country’s biggest bank at up to 1.32 billion euros ($1.5 billion).

NLB said on Friday the price range was 51.50-66.00 euros per share, equating to a market value of 1.03-1.32 billion euros.

The final price and allocation of shares to investors will be announced on or around Nov. 9.

Slovenia plans to sell between 50 percent and 75 percent of NLB, with up to 10 percent of the shares on sale being offered to domestic retail investors and the rest to institutions.

NLB has a market share of 23.2 percent in Slovenia, based on balance sheet assets, and also owns branches in Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

Slovenia has to eventually sell 75 percent of NLB under the conditions of a deal with the European Commission, which approved 1.55 billion euros of state aid to the bank in 2013.

The government plans to remain the largest shareholder in NLB to have a say in key business decisions.

The bank said offers would be collected from Oct. 29 until Nov. 7 for retail investors, and until Nov. 8 for institutional investors, but added the timetable could be accelerated or extended.

The bank is expected to be listed on the Ljubljana and London stock exchanges on Nov. 14. NLB’s shares will be traded in Ljubljana, while global depository receipts (GDRs) will be traded in London, with 5 GDRs representing one share.

Slovenia is also obliged by mid-2019 to sell 100 percent of its third largest lender, Abanka, which was also rescued by the state in 2013.

The Slovenian Sovereign Holding, a state firm which is coordinating privatisation, invited expressions of interest for Abanka earlier in October, but declined to comment on Friday how much interest in the bank it had received.

$1 = 0.8806 euros Reporting by Marja Novak; Editing by David Goodman and Mark Potter

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