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NLB Selling Banka Celje

Ljubljana, 18 February (STA) - Slovenia's biggest bank, NLB, and some other shareholders of Banka Celje on Friday published a call for bids for a 75% stake in the Celje-based bank, which has about 5% market share in Slovenia. Non-binding bids need to be submitted by 8 April.

NLB is the biggest owner of Banka Celje with a 40.99% share (49.42% of voting rights). Disposition of the stake is in line with the strategy which the NLB supervisory board endorsed in October 2010.

Interests in NLB are also being sold by the state-run SOD fund, tools maker Unior, banks Abanka Vipa and NKBM, insurer Zavarovalnica Triglav, floorings maker Juteks, stocking manufacturer Polzela tovarna nogavic, zinc producer Cinkarna, publisher DZS, Factor banka and Factor-in, follows from the call, published in daily Delo.

A total of 305,748 regular and 58,198 preferred shares of Banka Celje are available, representing 75.14% and 57.21% stake, respectively.

In the bids, prospective buyers need to state the price for regular shares and preferds, define the deadline and the way in which they will pay the purchase money and put forward a programme of the bank's development.

The sellers are not obligated to sell the stakes with the best bidder. Detailed information is available to the parties interested in the form of a memorandum at EUR 5,000.

Banka Celje, which is part of the NLB group, reported a pre-tax profit of EUR 5.4m for 2010.

Media reports have mentioned Italy's Unicredit, SKB or its French parent Societe Generale and some Austrian banks as prospective buyers. The acquisition would make Unicredit the No.2 bank in Slovenia in terms of assets.

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