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EUR 40M Worth of NKBM Shares Available to Institutional Investors

Ljubljana, 20 April (STA) - In the first round of a capital rise at Slovenia's second largest bank, NKBM, which closed on Monday, existing shareholders bought over eight million of fresh shares worth EUR 64.45m, while almost five million shares worth EUR 39.87m will be offered to small and institutional investors in the second round.

The Maribor-based bank is issuing up to 13,040,989 ordinary share as part of the capital increase. Existing shareholders used their preemptive right to buy 8,056,622 shares, while the remaining 4,984,367 are available to small and institutional investors for subscription from today until 26 April.

In the second round of the capital increase, some 15% of the shares will be available to small investors in Ljubljana and Warsaw, while the rest will be accessible to domestic and foreign institutional investors.

The state is expected to directly or indirectly retain its 51.09% ownership share, the bank said in a press release published on the web site of the Ljubljana Stock Exchange today.

The majority stake remaining in the state's hands is the result of the state-controlled Capital Assets Management Agency having transferred the state's preemptive right for purchase onto state-owned power utility Gen Energija, national grid operator ELES and postal company Posta Slovenije before the first round of the capital rise.

The guardian of the state's capital stakes in companies reportedly decided for the move because there is not enough money for a capital injection in the state budget. However, this has caused an uproar among some government ministers and resulted in calls for the dismissal of the agency's management.

The bank decided for the share issue with the aim to get some EUR 104m in fresh funds to be able to further support Slovenian companies and implement the groups' development strategy.

Trading with new NKMB shares will start in Warsaw and Ljubljana on 3 May.

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