Celje, 24 September (STA) - Banka Celje, a small bank which faces a government bailout unless it finds a private investor, announced Thursday it had signed a non-disclosure agreement with a potential investor who wants to carry out due diligence.
The bank did not disclose any details beyond that, but the business daily Finance says the potential suitor is Jeffries, a small US investment bank.
The news is somewhat of a surprise since it was widely assumed that the bank would be bailed out and nationalised given that a recapitalisation attempt failed this year.
However, the bank also said its supervisory board was briefed on a restructuring plan involving a merger with Abanka, which indicates that this scenario is still in the cards.
The merger with Abanka is in line with Abanka restructuring plans recently cleared by the European Commission.
The EU demands that a restructuring plan involving the merger be submitted by the end of this year.
Banka Celje is in majority ownership of directly or indirectly state-owned companies. Its biggest single shareholder is the wholly state-owned NLB bank, which holds a 41% stake.