EBRD buys 25% stock in Armenian Bank

Dec 9 2004


YEREVAN, DECEMBER 9, ARMENPRESS: One of the leading Armenian
commercial banks, Armeconombank and the European Bank for
Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) sealed an agreement in Yerevan
on December 8 whereby the EBRD will purchase 25 percent of stock of
the Armenian bank.
Speaking after the signing ceremony a senior EBRD executive said
they will pay Armeconombank $1 million and grant it $500,000 in
“technical assistance.” An EBRD finance director, Maria-Luisa
Cicogniani, told a news conference that the agreement was in line
with EBRD’s plans to expand investments in the private sector of
former Soviet republics.
“This is our first investment in Armenia’s banking sector, and if
further opportunities arise we will certainly react ,” Maria-Luisa
Cicogniani said. EBRD had made similar investments in one bank in
Azerbaijan and two banks in Georgia, which were chosen as conforming
Western-style management and transparency. The same requirement was
applied to Armeconombank.
“We are a long-term investor in the bank, and our investments are
usually five-year-long and more,” she said.
Armeconombank, in which the majority of stock belongs to Khachatur
Sukiasian, a business tycoon and parliament member, is one of few
Armenian banks acting as a public joint-stock company. Its 2,000
small shareholders receive regularly their dividends.
The head of EBRD Yerevan office, Nikolay Hajinsky said the EBRD
plans in addition to buy minority stakes in several Armenian
manufacturing companies. The overall EBRD investments in the Armenian
economy since 1993 have totaled $150 million.

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