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Business

Slovenia says it can fix banking sector without international aid

Eurozone member Slovenia has said its largest banks need billions of euros to plug holes in their balance sheets. But the government insisted no international bailout would be needed for the recapitalization process.

Slovenia's eight largest lenders need 4.8 billion euros ($6.62 billion) to plug current financing holes, the results of an external audit showed on Thursday.

Central bank chief Bostjan Jazbec

said the state would inject some three billion euros into three publicly owned lenders, notably Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB), Nova Kreditna Banka Maribor (NKBM) and Abanka Vipa. He added their toxic assets would be transferred to a state-run fund, commonly known as a bad bank for absorbing non-performing credits.

Jazbec insisted the recapitalization gap as shown by the EU-sponsored stress test was within the range the euro-area nation had said it could afford

without having to resort to a bailout

by international creditors.

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The central bank added five smaller banks would be given until mid-2014 to raise 1.6 billion euros from private capital.

Slovenia's banking-sector problems have represented a dramatic fall from grace for the ex-Yugoslav country which for years was viewed by analysts as a haven of stability and economic prosperity.

Finance Minister Uros Cufer said on Thursday the government had prepared a 1-billion-euro sovereign bond yet to be sold, which is meant to help fund the recapitalization of the three biggest lenders.

hg/pfd (Reuters, AFP)

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