NBS still negotiating on sale of IRB

The National Bank of Slovakia (NBS) said on March 9 talks were continuing with an unspecified domestic investor on the sale of the IRB, the third largest Slovak bank that was put under a caretaker administration last December due to liquidity problems. Ján Onda, the NBS spokesman, would not confirm unsourced reports that the central bank has been negotiating with the largest Slovak insurer, Slovenská Poisťovňa. "The NBS still continues in negotiations with the domestic entity it has chosen to buy the IRB, but further rounds of talks will be needed to reach a final agreement," Onda said. The IRB held an extraordinary shareholders meeting on March 18, with the bank's sale being the main item on the agenda. Though the NBS said it wanted the new owner to allow other investors, preferably foreign, to take a stake in IRB to boost its basic capital, the shareholders rejected any calls for a foreign owner. The state still holds about 35 percent of the bank's equity.

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