EBRD Not to Discuss OTP Bank’s Entry to Azerbaijani Banking Sector on Background of World Financial Crisis

Azerbaijan, Baku, 27 October / Trend corr. N.Ismayilova / In 2008 it is high time for the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to leave composition of shareholders of the Azerbaijani UniBank and the Hungarian OTP Bank is one of pretenders to purchase its share in capital.

"Action term of all investments of the EBRD expires. The Eurobank purchases share package to achieve definite objectives, including from strengthening of capital base to improvement of corporate governance. When we achieve these objectives, we will leave the composition of shareholders, Francis Delaey, the head of the EBRD Baku Representation, told Trend on 27 October. This concerns our investments at UniBank and all other our investments, as well."

According to Delaey, the EBRD knows that OTP Bank has displayed an interest toward UniBank. "We hailed their entry to the Azerbaijani bank sector, whilst we cannot comment upon details, especially under conditions of the current global financial crisis," the Eurobank representative said.

Changes in composition of the bank shareholders are not expected within the next few days, Faig Huseynov, the head of UniBank said at the end of the last week.

OTP Bank decided temporarily to refrain from entry to composition of UniBank because of the world financial crisis, sources at the Azerbaijani banking circles told Trend .

Besides the Eurobank, action term of a contract with the German investment corporation DEG expires in 2008, as well. They possess 15.2% and 8.2% of stake package at UniBank, respectively.

"UniBank has a strategic development plan for next three years and under this plan it will continue dynamic development, one of minority shareholders of the bank said earlier. Even if these strategic investors leave the shareholder composition of UniBank, the bank will be one of reliable, profitable and stable banks of Azerbaijan."

UniBank is the second largest private bank in Azerbaijan, which held 6% of assets of bank system and five percent of retail deposits at the end of first quarter. The bank is a leader at the market of automobile and mortgage loaning. UniBank became the first Azerbaijani bank, which has institutional investors like EBRD and DEG.

The correspondent can be contacted at [email protected]

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