11 Jun 2010 16:35

EBRD may buy up to 25% of Belinvestbank

MINSK. June 11 (Interfax) - The National Bank of Belarus (NBB) is in talks with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) on sale of a minority stake in Belinvestbank, the first deputy chairman of the NBB, Pavel Kallaur, told journalists on Friday.

"Discussions with the EBRD are underway. They want to take an equity stake in Belinvestbank," Kallaur said, adding that most likely the EBRD would be offered a stake of up to 25%, in line with the EBRD's previous history of investment in Belarusian banks.

"The discussions are in the most intensive stage," he said.

It was reported earlier that Minsk held talks on sale of the Belinvestbank stake with German Commerzbank, but the negotiations were suspended with the onset of the global financial crisis.

Kallaur hinted that the talks with Commerzbank might resume. "The work on the previous agreement has not been closed," he said, noting that the problems in European financial sector continue to have a significant negative impact on the investment potential of European banks.

Belinvestbank was formed in September 2001 from the merger of Belbiznesbank and Belarusian Bank of Development. It is currently the fourth biggest of 32 Belarusian banks by assets, which totaled 5.020 trillion Belarusian rubles on April 1, 2010. The State Property Committee owns 85.8% of shares, the National Bank of Belarus has 6.5%, territorial property funds and local government bodies have 1.8% and state enterprises and organizations have 0.9%.

The official exchange rate on June 11 was 3,018 Belarusian rubles/$1.