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EBRD, private equity firms buy 41% of Moldova Agroindbank for 451.5 mln lei (23 mln euro)

EBRD, private equity firms buy 41% of Moldova Agroindbank for 451.5 mln lei (23 mln euro)

CHISINAU (Moldova), October 2 (SeeNews) - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development said on Tuesday that together with two private equity firms it has acquired a 41.09% stake in Moldova Agroindbank (MAIB) for 451.533 million Moldovan lei ($26.8 million/23.07 million euro)

The shares were bought by EBRD, AB Invalda INVL and Horizon Capital in an auction held by Moldova’s Public Property Agency, EBRD said in a press release.

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EBRD announced in June its intention to take part in the auction for a 41.09% stake in Agroindbank, Moldova's largest commercial lender, together with the two private equity firms.

The new shareholders, operating through UK-based company HEIM Partners, will bring the highest standards of corporate governance, new technologies and effective structures to strengthen the performance of Moldova’s leading bank, improve lending services for small businesses and support the wider economy, the bank added.

"The government showed strong political will and resolve to clean up the banking sector. It took a brave decision to support the sale process of MAIB, which – no doubt – will contribute to better banking services and stronger investments in the Moldovan economy as a whole. By doing that, the government backed the National Bank of Moldova in its massive effort to consolidate the banking system and make it more transparent," EBRD Managing Director for Financial Institutions Francis Malige said.

HEIM Partners is owned by the EBRD and Invalda INVL, with 37.5% of shares each, and Horizon Capital, which holds the remaining 25% and is responsible for strategic direction and management of the MAIB stake on behalf of the consortium. 

HEIM Partners has acquired the stake in MAIB in response to the Moldovan government’s search for a reputable investor, as the authorities and the regulator are working to re-establish a well-governed and commercially oriented banking sector.

"MAIB welcomes the new shareholders –international financial institutions that will strengthen the bank’s position and the Moldovan financial sector. Despite difficult periods, MAIB has managed to achieve strong performance and continuous growth. As an institution, we will continue to embrace the highest standards of openness and governance and a corporate culture that is centred on integrity and sustainability," MAIB CEO Serghei Cebotari said.

Agroindbank's assets amounted to 1.07 billion euro ($1.23 billion) at the end of 2017, while its equity totalled 180 million euro.

Vilnius-based Invalda INVL group’s companies have more than 600 million euro of assets under management, entrusted to them by over 190,000 clients in Lithuania and Latvia as well as international investors.

Horizon Capital is a private equity firm managing funds which provide financing to businesses in Ukraine and Moldova. Its funds have attracted investments from the EBRD and other investors.

The EBRD is the largest institutional investor in Moldova and has invested over 1.2 billion euro in over 120 projects in the country to date.

The EBRD has been at the forefront of efforts to help the country clean up and modernise its banking sector. Earlier this year, with the EBRD’s support, Romania’s Banca Transilvania acquired a controlling stake in the third-largest Moldovan bank, Victoriabank.

(1 euro=19.5699 Moldovan lei)

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