19 Feb 2024 13:10

Bank of Georgia Group buys Armenian Ameriabank for $303.6 mln

TBILISI. Feb 19 (Interfax) - Bank of Georgia Group PLC (BOG) has reached an agreement to purchase Armenian Ameriabank for $303.6 million, Bank of Georgia Group said in a statement.

The main shareholders of the bank are Imast Group (CY) Limited with 48.82%, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) with 17.71%, Asian Development Bank with 13.91%, and ESPS Holding Limited with 12.05%. Media reports said that one of the main beneficiaries of Ameriabank is businessman and ex-prime minister of Nagorno-Karabakh Ruben Vardanyan, who was detained by Azerbaijani authorities in September of last year. Vardanyan is also a co-founder of Troika Dialog, one of the first Russian investment brokerage companies.

The parties reached an agreement regarding the purchase and sale of 100% of Ameriabank shares. At the same time, Bank of Georgia will acquire 90% of the shares of Ameriabank, and another 10% of the shares will remain with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in accordance with the shareholders' option agreement.

The acquisition price will be 0.65 of the net asset value of Ameriabank as of October 31, 2023.

"The Board of Directors and management believe that the acquisition will be immediately accretive to earnings per share and RoAE, with Bank of Georgia maintaining a strong capital position," the press release said.

"Via Ameriabank, we intend to enter Armenia, one of the fastest growing economies," Mel Carvill, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Bank of Georgia Group, said.

Bank of Georgia's dividend policy is expected to remain unchanged following the group's expansion, with a target payout ratio in the range of 30%-50% of annual profits.

The press release also announced Band of Georgia's rebranding. "After closing the deal and joining Ameriabank, the group also intends to change its name, opening a new chapter in its development with two universal banks in attractive and fast-growing markets," Bank of Georgia Group CEO Archil Gachechiladze said.

Ameriabank has been operating in the Armenian market since October 1996 and is a universal bank providing investment, corporate and retail banking services.