Slovenia Expansion of OTP Bank Raises Political QuestionsReading Time: < 1 minutes
Hungary’s OTP Bank has acquired a 100% stake in Slovenia’s Nova KBM after signing a purchase agreement with former shareholders of Apollo Global Management (former 80% owner) and the European Bank For Reconstruction and Development (20% owner). The deal is the most significant acquisition in the history of OTP, and as a result, the acquired entity will become the market leader in Slovenia (following similar acquisitions in Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro and Hungary).
The announcement has raised political questions since Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa is viewed as a close ally of Hungary’s PM Viktor Orbán, and pro-government Hungarian investors have also helped the government in Ljubljana to build a government-loyal media there. On the basis of those issues, OTP’s recent takeover of Nova KBM is also being interpreted by critics as giving a helping hand to Slovenia’s PM, enabling a dominant role for him in the financial sector.
But observers point out that OTP CEO Sándor Csányi most probably had stronger business motives than political motivations when deciding on the takeover.