Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 20
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is considering participation in the planned privatization of International Bank of Azerbaijan (IBA), Ivana Fernandes Duarte, EBRD manager in Azerbaijan, told Reuters in an interview.
The EBRD is in contact with IBA and the Azerbaijani authorities to discuss the privatization options, she said.
“We will definitely consider this once it’s ready for privatization,” she said, but declined to elaborate on the possible format or timing of the sale.
“It remains to be seen ... whether we are talking about a sale to a strategic investor that we could support as a financial investor or another type of entry of private capital,” Fernandes Duarte said.
The EBRD usually acquires minority stakes in a range between 5 and 25 percent, she added.
Earlier, EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti said that the EBRD would be happy to help in restructuring and refocusing of the IBA.
Chakrabarti said that in case of reforming the corporate governance system in IBA, EBRD may consider an opportunity of becoming a shareholder of the Azerbaijani bank.
The International Bank of Azerbaijan is at the stage of recovery since July 2015, which is related to preparations for privatization of the bank's state-owned shares.
To restore the bank's financial position, the distressed assets of the bank were transferred to state-owned Aqrarkredit non-bank credit organization. Aqrarkredit provides IBA with liquid assets in exchange for distressed assets.
Restructuring of IBA’s foreign liabilities has been recently completed.
Azerbaijan has been a member of EBRD since 1992. Since then, the bank has invested about $2.8 billion in Azerbaijan’s economy.