Erste Group abandons plans for acquiring Komercijalna Banka

Austria’s Erste banking group has decided not to bid for Komercijalna Banka as it prefers to invest in developing its digital banking activities in Serbia, its CEO Andreas Treichl said.

“If we were to buy the bank it would cost us 500 million euro. As a result, we would have 100 branches and we would have to integrate them. We asked ourselves what we could do with 500 million euro if we invested that in digitization. We decided in a favour of digitization and against integration process,” Treichl added.

“Serbia will have been included in the George Platform by the end of 2021, or 2022 the latest. We have many customers there and we want to grow digitally there,” he noted.

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In June, Serbia’s finance ministry said it had received six valid expressions of interest in the sale of Komercijalna Banka. In late May, Serbia’s finance ministers called for interested bidders to send letters of interest for the purchase of at least 50.1% of the shareholding interest in Komercijalna Banka, including the entire state-owned stake, which then stood at 41.75%.

In addition to acquiring 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. In this way, the investor will be able to control a stake of up to 83.23%.

Meanwhile, the Serbian government bought in June a 6.8% stake in Komercijalna Banka from DEG and Swedfund for a total of 42.5 million euro on the Belgrade Stock Exchange.

(eKapija, 01.08.2019)


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