The Croatian regulator has approved Slovenian NLB Bank‘s indirect acquisition of an outright stake in Croatian leasing firm Mobil Leasing. The bank said the move will allow NLB to expand its presence in Croatia through the acquisition of Summit Leasing Slovenija, which owns Mobil Leasing.

Mobil Leasing holds a market share of just over 3% in Croatia alongside 3,500 active vehicle financing contracts, providing NLB with an opportunity to strengthen its foothold in the region.

NLB Group

NLB Bank’s parent company, NLB Group, is the largest banking and financial group in Slovenia, focusing its activities in Southeast Europe. In 2023, NLB Group recorded a profit of €514 million and reported total assets of €16.015bn. It operates in various countries, including Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. Key shareholders include the Slovenian Government (25%) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) (7.1%).

Slovenia Business reported that the approval follows NLB’s agreement in November with US fund Apollo and the EBRD to acquire a 100% stake in SLS Holdco, the parent company of Summit Leasing Slovenija and its subsidiaries, including Mobil Leasing.

Apollo Global Management and the EBRD retained the leasing company after selling the banking group NKBM to the Hungarian OTP group in 2021.

The Croatian Financial Services Supervisory Agency (HANFA) granted the necessary approval for the acquisition, marking one of several regulatory and antitrust clearances required to complete the transaction, anticipated in the second half of 2024.

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NLB has long sought to enter the Croatian market. However, disputes between the Slovenian and Croatian governments following the breakup of Yugoslavia, along with debt issues involving the Croatian branch of LB (NLB’s precursor), had previously hindered this entry.