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Wolf Theiss Advises on Slovenian Banks' Return to International Capital Markets

Slovenia
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Wolf Theiss has advised Commerzbank, Merrill Lynch International, and UniCredit Bank on managing the issuance of bonds by Nova Ljubljanska banka, d.d, Ljubljana (NLB), the largest Slovenian bank.

Wolf Theiss acted as Slovenian legal adviser to the managers in connection with the issuance of the EUR 300 million 2.875 per cent Notes due 2017. The yield to maturity of the Notes at the issuance was 3 per cent. The Notes, which were awarded international ratings BB-/BB- by the rating agencies Fitch and Standard & Poors, are listed on the Luxemburg Stock Exchange. 

NLB is the first Slovenian bank to successfully return to the international capital markets after a 5 year absence. The market's interest for the Notes was substantial, with indications of interest from over 40 accounts. The orders were entered mainly by the large high quality buy-and-hold investors, with asset managers purchasing 68% of the issuance while the rest was purchased by pension funds, insurance companies, banks and others. The majority came from the United Kingdom (79%), followed by Italy (7%), Slovenia (5%), Netherlands (4%) and others (5%). 

Wolf Theiss reports that NLB will use the proceeds from the bonds for general funding purposes, diversification of funding sources, and replacement of some more expensive funding sources. Further bond offerings in the future are anticipated. 

The firm's team was led by Partner Markus Bruckmuller and Associate Uros Notar. The scope of their work included negotiating the documentation from a Slovenian law perspective, drafting the taxation section in the prospectus, and providing a standard legal opinion on the documentation. Wolf Theiss Managing Partner Erik Steger said of the deal that: "It is of particular importance to see evidence of an improving market also in Slovenia and its capital and debt market. We are happy to effectively and efficiently support so many successful issuers of bonds."

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