Dutch investment group acquires Georgia's third largest bank from local venture

By bne IntelliNews October 18, 2017

Liberty Bank, the third largest lender in Georgia, announced on October 13 that a Netherlands-based company, the European Financial Group, has purchased 74.64% of its equity. No further details about the transaction were revealed. The ultimate beneficiaries of the new owner are American citizens Igor Alexeev and Irakli Rukhadze and Ben Marson, a British citizen.

Previously, a local venture owned by former Georgian Prime Minister Lado Gurgenidze and Romanian businessman Dinu Patriciu owned 91.2% of the shares in the bank. Liberty Bank is the largest of the 17 small banks in Georgia, accounting for a market share of 5.6%. TBC Bank and Bank of Georgia, the country's largest lenders, account for two-thirds of the market in terms of loans and deposits.

According to its half-year financial results, Liberty Bank experienced a 29.7% y/y growth in net income to GEL21mn (7.43mn) and a 22.1% y/y growth in revenue, in line with the generally positive performance of the entire sector.

According to the statement of its Q2/H1 results, the bank has experienced a significant turnaround, going from a nearly bankrupt institution with negligible equity of under GEL15mn and negative regulatory capital to a bank with equity worth over GEL170mn and a return on assets that has been consistently above 20%. 

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