Legal Market Overview
Real estate and M&A are the foundation of activity in the Slovenian legal market. Non-performing loan (NPL) transactions are rare, as the majority of loan portfolios have been sold. A standout highlight in 2018 concerned the €293m takeover of Gorenje (the eight largest manufacturer of home appliances in Europe) by Chinese company Hisense. Elsewhere, another area of discussion has been the high-profile development of a Slovenian railway line to the Adriatic port; this is a highly anticipated future infrastructure project, which is worth approximately €1bn.
In the banking sphere, the privatisations of two state-owned banks have been a talking point. Slovenia’s largest bank, Nova Ljubljanska Banka (NLB), was offered through an IPO in October 2018, resulting in a sale of almost 60% of its shares. It was then admitted to trading on the London and Ljubljana stock exchanges in November. The privatisation of Abanka, however, is less certain. Despite inviting investors to express an interest in acquiring the bank in October 2018, the Slovenian Finance Ministry revealed only a month later that the bank may not actually be sold.
Taxation is another trending topic, with Slovenia having an ageing population and workers taking early retirement. In 2018, a OECD review recommended a comprehensive system of tax reform in order to address these (and other associated) challenges. A proposal to increase personal income tax, however, has been challenged by some commentators, who claim that this could disincentivise future investments in the Slovenian market. Some successful companies have already withdrawn in anticipation of this. However, the instability of the current government – a minority-led coalition – means it is unclear whether or not such changes will actually be implemented anyway.