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Gorenjska banka ups H1 profit, binding bids cold shower for owners

Ljubljana, 09 August (STA) - Gorenjska banka upped its net profit by nearly 20% to EUR 3.6m in January-June year-on-year, but this was reportedly not reflected in the binding bids for a 55% stake in the bank. According to unofficial information, two bidders came forward, offering less than was the lowest price set for the sale.

In the first six months, Gorenjska banka brought up net interest income by 19% to EUR 15.5m year-on-year, reads Wednesday's release from the bank.

Total assets stood at EUR 1.71bn at the end of June, which compares to EUR 1.51bn at the end of 2016.

Deposits by non-banking sector increased by 12% to EUR 1.37bn and loans to this grouping were up by 4% to EUR 887.6m.

The share of toxic loans was down two percentage points to 9.3% at the end of June compared to the end of 2016. The bank's capital adequacy stood at 17.1%.

Meanwhile, the consortium led by financial holding Sava as the biggest single owner got acquainted with the binding bids for the majority stake in the bank yesterday.

Sava, whose financial restructuring plans hinge on the sale of Gorenjska banka, was tight-lipped, but media reported unofficially that two bids arrived, both below EUR 298 per share.

This is the lowest price under which the consortium - Sava, Abanka, the Bank Asset Management Company and Zavarovalnica Triglav - is willing to sell the bank.

According to the Delo newspaper, which quotes unofficial information, Sava's restructuring plan and potentially its future is based on the set price.

Delo also reported that the US fund Apollo and the Serbian AIK Banka, which already has more than 20% of Gorenjska banka, offered roughly EUR 230 and EUR 280 per share, respectively.

Apollo is already a majority owner of the NKBM bank, the postal bank Poštna banka and the former Raiffeisen bank.

Both bidders also reportedly set additional conditions pertaining to a criminal complaint by the central bank over trading in Iskratel shares, which allegedly netted Gorenjska banka almost EUR 20m in illegal proceeds in 2009.

Unsatisfied with the offers, the consortium reportedly asked the two bidders to increase their offers, Delo also reported.

Further steps will be decided by the management board of Sava and its owners, with Slovenia Sovereign Holding and the York Global Finance Offshore fund the biggest among them.

Meanwhile, pundits believe that Gorenjska banka could be worth much more given its potential and its book value at EUR 565 per share last year, Delo noted.

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