Moldova’s central bank suspends rights of consortium that owns 10% of Energbank

By bne IntelliNews October 3, 2019

The foreign consortium that took over electricity supply and distribution businesses in Moldova from Naturgy over the summer has been notified by the central bank to sell the 10% stake it holds in small Energbank (3.2% of the banking system’s assets) since they acquired it along with the electricity utilities without permission from the National Bank of Moldova (NBM).

The joint venture between Jiri Smejc’s Emma Capital Group and the London-based Duet Private Equity completed the purchase of Red Union Fenosa (RUF) and Gas Natural Fenosa Furnizare Energie (GNF) from Spanish energy group Naturgy in August. RUF is the owner of nearly 10% of Energbank.

The 10% stake not only exceeds the 5% threshold above which new owners must receive the central bank’s consent, but it also gives control over the bank’s operations since the ownership rights of most of the other shareholders at the bank have been lifted as well. After the group of shareholders owning 53% of the bank’s shares lost the right to vote at the beginning of the year, RUF became the bank’s main shareholder. The final beneficiaries of the 53% stake in Energbank were not disclosed by Moldova's central bank.

Formally, the central bank asked RUF to sell its stake in Energbank and suspended its voting rights. According to the NBM press release, the new owner of the 10% stake has not applied for preliminary permission to hold these shares.

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