DEMIRBANK (BULGARIA) IS WAITING FOR BUYERS
Demirbank (Bulgaria) was officially put up for sale on August 10, 2001. By August 20 all interested in the local subsidiary of Demirbank T.A.S. should sign a confidentiality contract with the Turkish Agency for Bank Regulation and Supervision, which is its owner. Four days later the Agency will start collecting offers for the five subsidiaries of Demirbank T.A.S., for whose sale a tender was invited last week. In addition to Demirbank (Bulgaria) the Agency is selling 70% of Demir-Halk Bank (the Netherlands) N.V., operating in Holland, Germany, Belgium and Great Britain; 52.5% of Demirbank (Romania) S.A.; 36.33% of it leasing company Demir Romlease S.A.; 99.9% of Demir Kazakhstan Bank, and 60% of Demir Kirgiz International Bank.
August 24, 2001 is the deadline for submission of offers for the six financial companies. The Agency will make public its decisions on September 3, 2001, reserving the right to sign a contract with each of the candidate-buyers or with no one of them. The candidates can announce their willingness to take part in the bidding at the Turkish Agency for Bank Regulation and Supervision or at the local offices of the financial institutions.
As the BANKER weekly has already written, in mid-July the London-based international bank group HSBC won the bidding for Demirbank T.A.S. with its offers for a little over USD100MN against which the buyer acquired one third of the bank's assets.
Bulgarian bank circles comment that interest towards Demirbank (Bulgaria) has been shown by Russian groups, connected with the gas and petrol business, which have been present on our market for several years now. At the same time, it is said that since the beginning of 2001 representatives of the Varna strong-arm group TIM have been searching the opportunity for purchasing the Bulgarian subsidiary of Demirbank T.A.S.
Demirbank (Romania) S.A. has attracted the attention of two big Westeuropean banks. According to local media, these are the Italian UniCredito, which failed to win in the bidding for Demirbank T.A.S. and Germany's Hypovereinsbank. UniCredito, which purchased BULBANK in end-2000, has not yet stepped onto the Romanian market.
Demir-Halk Bank (the Netherlands) was set up in 1992. The second largest state-owned Turkish financial instituion - Halk Bank - is also a shareholder in it (besides Demirbank T.A.S.), with a 30% stake. It is specialized in crediting small and medium-sized business in Turkey, but also fell in a difficult situation after Bulgaria's southeastern neighbour country was shaken up by a financial crisis in end-2000. Demir-Halk Bank (the Netherlands) posted a profit of EUR24.8MN in 2000, and the finanicial institution's assets total EUR1.3BN.