Ljubljana, 5 January (STA) – The first week of the new year on the Ljubljana Stock Exchange was marked by solid growth of blue chips, propelled by expectations about the sale of state-owned companies, according to analysts. The SBI TOP blue chip index gained 5.66% to 671.45 points in the three-day trading week.

After the stock market was closed for New Year’s celebrations, brokers wrapped up a solid EUR 4.5m in deals from Wednesday to Friday.

This week’s winner was insurer Zavarovalnica Triglav, surging 8.12% to EUR 17.84, followed by drug maker Krka and retailer Mercator, which added 7.76% to EUR 53.88 and 6.54% to EUR 121.45 respectively.

According to Alenka Eržen of the GDB brokerage, the Ljubljana Stock Exchange has been growing since the end of summer, when the first announcements came out about the state selling its stake in companies.

“And after months of growth, many investors are considering investing in Slovenian shares,” she said, adding that sale of state companies is, however, not a sure thing.

Further down the winners column were household appliance maker Gorenje (+4.49 to EUR 3.96), energy company Petrol (+3.66% to EUR 245.05) and telco Telekom Slovenije (+3.61 to EUR 99)

The only index share in the red this week was the NKBM bank, which shed 2.31% to finish the week at EUR 1.27.

Other major names outside the index also gained ground. Shipping company Intereuropa was up 27.09% to EUR 0.70, reinsurer Sava Re 9.55% to EUR 7.80 and port operator Luka Koper 3.40% to EUR 8.22.

News from the business world were scarce this week, among the top news being Friday’s announcement of NKBM that a EUR 100m hybrid loan by the state has raised its Core Tier capital to the 9% level demanded by the European Banking Authority and secured long-term stability in the operations of Slovenia’s second largest bank.

The loan, provided at a 10% fixed annual interest rate and okayed by the European Commission under the condition that NKBM come up with a restructuring plan within three months, was part of the bank’s efforts to secure capital adequacy.