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NKBM Becomes First Slovenian Company to Enter Foreign SE

Warsaw, 11 May (STA) - Slovenia's second-largest bank, NKBM, listed its shares on the Warsaw Stock Exchange on Wednesday as the first Slovenian company to enter a foreign stock exchange alongside being quoted on the Ljubljana Stock Exchange. Head of the WSE Ludwik Sobolewski expressed hope that more Slovenian companies would follow suit.

The listing came after the NKBM recently conducted capital raising by issuing fresh shares. Trading also started with the 13,040,989 fresh NKBM shares at the LJSE today.

As trading started, the price of NKBM share at the WSE was set at EUR 8 and at the LJSE at EUR 8.67.

In Warsaw, where trading takes place between 9 AM and 5 PM, the share put on little more than 5% in the first 15 minutes of trading and then began dropping, but remained in the black.

Little more than two hours into trading, NKBM share edged 2.8% higher to finish at PLN 32.67 (EUR 8.31) on some PLN 150,000 (EUR 38,153) in volumes.

At the LJSE, all NKBM shares issued before the recent capital increase are available for trading plus those issued as part of the capital raising.

In Warsaw, however, only shares offered to small and institutional investors in Poland as part of the capital increase are available for trading.

But the shares can also be transferred from one country to another within a day.

If the value of the share at one stock exchange significantly differs from the value at the other, it can be automatically adjusted, as increased selling at one stock exchange and buying at the other will regulate the price.

Investors will therefore be able to transfer their shares to the whichever stock exchange has a higher price and sell them there.

NKBM management expects the bank's shares to be bought mostly by portfolio investors. Chairman Matjaz Kovacic told the press in Warsaw that trading at the WSE should boost the bank's liquidity but refused to predict price movement of shares.

He labelled the April capital increase as successful. "The bank raised capital and the listing has been successful as well," he said.

He added that entering a foreign stock exchange was "a challenge and an obligation to fulfil promises because the market has no mercy in punishing those who do not fulfil their promises, but also rewards successful projects".

President of the WSE Management Board Ludwik Sobolewski welcomed NKBM's entrance to the WSE, which he said was significantly expanding its activity in central and eastern Europe. "The listing of a Slovenian company is the first step as part of our strategy to build a financial heart of the region," he said.

Sobolewski also expressed confidence that being quoted on the WSE would boost the liquidity of NKBM shares. He said he expected other Slovenian companies to follow suit.

NKBM, which was listed on the LJSE in 2007, wishes to set an example for other Slovenian companies.

It would be beneficial if good Slovenian companies look for opportunities on foreign stock exchanges, given that many need fresh capital and there is plenty of it abroad, Kovacic said.

The WSE started operating in April 1991. More than 400 companies are currently listed on it.

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