In December 2013, the European Commission ("Commission") approved the restructuring plan and State aid of up to EUR 2.32 billion to Nova Ljubljanska Banka d.d. ("NLB") to ensure its long term viability on the basis of the commitments offered by the Slovenian authorities. One of the key commitments was a sale of its 75%-1 share in NLB by 2017. In May 2017, after Slovenia produced evidence that it will not be able to divest the respective share in NLB one time, the Commission approved the sale in two tranches. After putting the divestment process on hold in June 2017 and failing to nominate the trustee to comply with the alternative commitment of divesting NLB's Balkan subsidiaries, Slovenia failed to comply with the commitments and unlawfully implemented the State aid granted to NLB in 2013.
In December 2017, the Slovenian authorities formally notified the Commission of a new commitment package to replace the original commitments which foresees a significant extension of the sales deadline and the appointment of an independent trustee that would exercise the State's shareholder rights until the sale has been completed. However, due to its doubts the Commission has opened in-depth investigation to assess whether the newly proposed commitments are equivalent to those originally provided by Slovenia, in particular whether the new commitments ensure viability of NLB and address potential additional competition distortions to the same extent. The Commission particularly has doubts whether the appointment of an independent trustee would be as effective as change in ownership, which would allow the bank to operate solely for commercial objectives, especially since the corporate governance issues were a main factor leading to NLB's past financial difficulties and the need for State aid.
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