Bulgarian holding company Doverie-Invest won the tender to buy a 63.8% stake in Moldova’s Moldindconbank (MICB) for MDL764mn (€57.6mn), the Moldovan Public Property Agency said on March 18.
The deal continues a series of purchases of stakes in major Moldova banks by international investors. In October 2018, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), together with two private equity investment funds agreed to buy a 41% stake in the country’s largest bank Moldova-Agroindbank (MAIB). The EBRD was already an investor in Moldova’s third largest bank, Victoriabank, alongside Romania’s Banca Transilvania.
As at MAIB, Moldova’s financial markets supervisor CNPF took control of a major (63.9%) stake in MICB from shareholders deemed to have been colluding in January 2018, with a view to selling it to a single investor. Shareholders had been given the chance to find a buyer for their shares themselves, but all their attempts failed. The confiscations of such stakes are part of the ongoing cleanup of the banking sector after the revelation of $1bn frauds at three major Moldovan banks that have since been liquidated.
Unlike the high profile investors in MAIB and Victoriabank, however, Doverie-United Holding is not a well known investor. The Bulgarian holding was established in 1996 as a privatisation fund with a portfolio of interests in over 20 companies in various economic sectors.
Having struggled to find an investor in MAIB, on January 18, Moldova’s central bank extended for the third time the deadline for the sale of the shares by three months. No further extension was allowed by the law.
Three days later, the central bank issued permission to Doverie-United Holding to purchase the stake in MICB. The following day, Moldova’s National Committee for Financial Stability (CNSF) recommended the government to initiate negotiations on the sale of the stake, deschide.md reported.
The Bulgarian company will buy 3.17mn shares in the Moldovan bank. The transaction will be completed on March 22.
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