Raiffeisen Bank International holding talks to sell its Belarusian subsidiary

By bne IntelliNews February 15, 2024

Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI), based in Austria, has announced that it is in negotiations for the sale of its 87.74% stake in Belarus's Priorbank. The potential buyer is Soven 1 Holding Limited, an investment entity from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

This move by RBI to divest its stake in Priorbank, along with its subsidiaries, signals a significant shift, potentially marking the bank's exit from the Belarusian market.

RBI has been heavily criticised for dragging its heels over exiting both Belarus as well as Russia, where it also continues to operate a highly profitable banking business.

The progress of the deal will be closely watched. While Belarus has been a basket case for much of the last three decades, Priorbank is one of the republic's few success stories, set up by a local entrepreneur who then sold control to RBI. Several leading Russian commercial banks as well as the Bank of Georgia entered the market in the boom years of the noughties.

RBI's press release did not detail the timeline for the completion of the negotiations or the potential terms of the deal, leaving room for further developments in this intriguing financial manoeuvre.

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