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BELGRADE (Serbia), June 27 (SeeNews) - Serbia's finance ministry said it has received six valid expressions of interest in the sale of Komercijalna Banka [BEL:KMBN].
The tender commission in charge of the privatisation of Komercijalna Banka held a session on Wednesday to discuss the received letters of interest and confirmed that six contain all required information, the finance ministry said in a statement.
The qualified candidates will be now invited to take part in the next stage of the tendering process, the finance ministry said, adding that it is still to decide on the type of the tender.
In late May, Serbia's finance ministry invited expressions of interest for the purchase of at least 50.1% shareholding interest in Komercijalna Banka, including the entire state-owned stake, which then stood at 41.75%.
In addition to purchasing the state-owned stake, the buyer will acquire all or part of the 41.48% shareholding interest in Komercijalna Banka held by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), IFC Capitalization Fund, German investment fund DEG and Sweden's Swedfund, the finance ministry said earlier. In this way, the investor will be able to control a stake of up to 83.23%.
Meanwhile, the Serbian government bought on Wednesday a 6.8% stake in Komercijalna from DEG and Swedfund for a total of 5.1 billion dinars ($48.3 million/ 42.5 million euro) on the Belgrade Stock Exchange, news agency Tanjug quoted finance ministry officials as saying.
Bourse data showed that two block deals in Komercijalna Banka's shares took place on Wednesday with 386,420 shares changing hands in the first one and 772,850 in the second one. The price per share in the two deals was 4,447 dinars, or an overall 5.1 billion dinars.
Earlier this week, local daily Blic quoted unnamed sources as saying that US-based private equity and venture capital firm Ripplewood Advisors is said to be interested in the privatisation of Komercijalna Banka in a consortium with Serbian investors, who have experience in the banking sector.
Blue-chip Komercijalna Banka was the third largest lender in Serbia in terms of assets at the end of 2018, behind Banca Intesa and UniCredit Bank Srbija, according to Serbian central bank figures.
(1 euro = 119.956 dinars)