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Krizanic Says EBRD to Enter Slovenia's Leading Bank and Insurer

Zagreb, 15 May (STA) - Finance Minister Franc Krizanic, who took part in the annual assembly of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in Zagreb on Friday, said that the EBRD, which had been helping banks in SE Europe during crisis, would enter the NLB bank and insurer Zavarovalnica Triglav.

The EBRD initially announced a retreat from Slovenia by the end of 2010, but has changed its mind to stay on until 2013, he said. "The EBRD plans to stay in Slovenia and support different development projects in the process of restructuring."

He said talks on NLB and Triglav were in the final phase. "I expect this cooperation to expand, not only towards NLB and Triglav but possibly wider," he said, hinting at insurer Slovenica and NKBM, the country's second largest bank.

The EBRD used to have a 5% stake in NLB, but sold it to investment firm Poteza Nalozbe in July 2008.

According to Krizanic, this financial push is very important for the expansion abroad of the Slovenian economy, which means that Slovenia will be even more active in the region.

The minister also discussed other projects with EBRD president Thomas Mirow, including possible investments in the planned new generator at the Sostanj coal-fired power plant (TES).

"We support all investment activities that the EBRD is planning in Slovenia...and we're grateful for the help it intends to offer to our financial institutions in SE Europe shortly," Krizanic said.

He announced that the EBRD board of directors would discuss the strategy for Slovenia on 20 July.

The EBRD plans to support the state's retreat from companies, participate in privatisation and restructuring and contribute to better corporate governance. It will also help banks' giving loans to small- and medium-sized companies, and support the role of the private sector in the development of infrastructure, energy and environment.

Krizanic also said that the board of governors, comprised of financial ministers of EBRD member states, decided yesterday to increase the bank's capital by EUR 10bn to EUR 30bn.

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