Eight candidates interested in buying Bulgarian Corpbank subsidiary Bank Victoria

By bne IntelliNews September 20, 2016

Eight candidates have expressed interest in Bulgaria's Bank Victoria, a wholly-owned subsidiary of bankrupt Corporate Commercial Bank (Corpbank), a notice on Corpbank’s website said on September 19.

Corpbank completed the acquisition of Credit Agricole Bulgaria in June 2014. Days after the deal closed, Corpbank was hit by a bank run, which led to its bankruptcy. The acquired lender was subsequently renamed Bank Victoria.

100% of Bank Victoria is being offered for sale in a package with Corpbank’s receivables against it. The latter amounted to BGN117.1mn (€59.9mn) at end-2015, but decreased by BGN29.9mn in the first half of 2016, Investor.bg reported.

The candidates that submitted expressions of interest include three Bulgarian commercial banks – Investbank, Bulgarian-American Credit Bank and D Commerce Bank. Two other candidates are Bulgaria’s largest telecom operator by revenue, Bulgarian Telecommunications Company (Vivacom), as well as the international finance company Transact Europe Holdings.

One of the foreign candidates, Zaghloul Holdings - Egyptian Engineers Group, is participating individually. The remaining two are in consortiums with Bulgarian financial sector companies – Lev Ins AD Insurance Company and Kerbler Holding GmbH, as well as Hanson Holdings Lux s.a.r.l. and Euro-Finance AD.

Three of the expressions of interest were made during the extension of the original deadline, from April 19 to September 16. Two other candidates have explicitly confirmed expressions made earlier, the September 19 statement said. The other three suitors are assumed to still be interested since they have not withdrawn explicitly during the extension.

The next phase will include an analysis of the submitted documents, as well as additional consultations with Bulgaria’s central bank.

At end-June, the total assets of Bank Victoria stood at BGN137.3mn, and the equity amounted to BGN41.8mn, according to central bank data. A purchase will provide the buyer with a banking licence, a licence for membership in Visa International, the possibility of entering niche market segments, an experienced team and a conservatively provisioned loan portfolio, Investor.bg reported quoting marketing documents. In addition, a reorganisation was completed in 2015, and the lender has operational IT infrastructure.

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