Serbia could become the majority owner of Komercijalna Banka, by increasing its share in that bank by paying out other shareholders, despite the fact that the government of Serbia agreed with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to announce the sale of the bank, reports the Blic daily.
“Serbia, which owns 41.7 percent of the shares of Komercijalna Banka, would buy 24.4 percent of the shares owned by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and 10 percent of the shares that are now owned by the World Bank, i.e. its IFC branch,” the source told the Blic daily.
According to the daily, Komercijalna Banka would thus become the largest state-owned bank in Serbia, and the Government of Serbia would have to pay to the shareholders the guaranteed amount of EUR 252 million from the budget.
“This is specified by the 2006 contract, according to which the shareholders of Komercijalna Banka, EBRD, IFC, Swedfund and German DEG, have the right to activate the so-called “road option” if the state does not start the sale of Komercijalna Banka, since they invested 170 million euros in its shares in the period from 2006 to 2009,” the Blic daily reports.
As explained, the activation of this option means that the state is obliged to buy their shares at a predetermined price if they want to sell them, which these international financial institutions repeated on several occasions.
The source of the daily believes that it is not certain that the Government of Serbia will announce the sale of the bank by June 30 and sell it by the end of 2019, although that was agreed a few months ago with the IMF.
The EBRD joined the ownership structure of Komercijalna Banka in 2006 through the recapitalization of 70 million euros, and privatization was planned for 2009, but the sale was delayed by the global economic crisis.
Afterwards, the EBRD recapitalized the bank with additional 50 million euros, and the ownership structure included the IFC with 40 million euros, German DEG with 20 million euros and the Swedish Swedfund with 10 million euros.
The state is obliged to recapitalize the bank with additional 110 million euros, so as not to lose its share in the ownership.
As the Blic daily reports, the market value of Komercijalna Banka, is currently about 308 million euros, given the stock prices on the stock exchange, while before the global crisis the price reached two billion euros.