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Results of Stress Tests Expected on 13 December

Portorož, 22 November (STA) - Central bank governor Boštjan Jazbec confirmed on Friday that the results of bank stress tests would be released on 13 December. He was confident at a Portorož Business Conference panel that no bank would have to enter bankruptcy or supervised liquidation on that date.

"This would have already happened if it had to happen," he said, noting that the central bank reacted when it had to in the case of Probanka and Factor banka, which are in the process of being wound down.

"My only intention is to reduce the costs to taxpayers; all decisions related to the required recapitalisations are informed by that," he said at a panel on macroprudential oversight.

Jazbec refused to speculate on the recent assessment of Fitch Ratings that Slovenia will need EUR 4.6bn to recapitalise its banks, noting that this was precisely what the stress tests were for: to determine the required capital.

The central bank's own estimate, recently revealed by Jazbec himself, is that the cost will be below EUR 4bn, though this is still significantly above initial estimates.

For months there has been speculation among investors and politicians that Slovenia might have to request international financial assistance.

Jazbec believes the likelihood that the country can manage without aid has "significantly improved" in the recent weeks, reflecting the government's efforts.

The panel also featured Prime Minister Alenka Bratušek, who said the latest measures had made Slovenia a "much more equal partner to Brussels...We did not promise much, but we fulfilled what we promised."

Asked about the recent surprise issue of a three-year EUR 1.5bn bond, Bratušek said it was carried out so that "Slovenia does not have problems when it is time to act".

The government has been tight-lipped about its plans with the money, but it is widely believed it will be used to recapitalise the state-owned banks, since the already budgeted sums will not suffice.

"You cannot immediately reveal everything...We will disclose the figures when the time is right," she said.

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