NEW YORK INVESTOR INCREASES HIS STAKE IN DZI BANK
A routine deal signed on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange before Christmas became the top financial news in Bulgaria in the last week of the year. It is the transaction through which the New York-based Julius Baer International Equities Fund, part of the Swiss Julius Baer Group, acquired 5% of the capital of DZI Bank.
As far as I know, the fund is a long-time shareholder in DZI Bank, DZI Bank Managing Board Chairman, Krassimir Angarski, commented for the BANKER weekly. On December 23 the shareholder simply increased the stake he owns up to 5% and, according to the stock exchange rules, he had to announce it in public. This is quite an ordinary transaction. It concerns a portfolio and not a strategic investor who buys small stakes of shares in order to make profit by the growth of their price, Mr. Angarski added.
He underlined that the deal involves acquisition of shares through the Bulgarian Stock Exchange and not of warrants that Bank Austria issued on the 25% stake in DZI Bank it acquired earlier. In the meantime, following the merger of Italy's Unicredito and Germany's HVB which is Bank Austria's majority owner a month ago it was announced that these warrants were controlled by the Italians. The announcement, too, provoked a series of speculations, although that was an absolutely normal operation.
Even though the purchase of DZI Bank shares by the Swiss fund is routine, it simply confirms the confidence of the bank's partners in its stability. Still, this is a Swiss financial group whose main shareholder is one of the world's biggest banks, UBS. The New York-based fund of the Julius Baer Group invests in large companies like the oil Total and British Petroleum and the telecommunications giant Vodafone. It also owns a stake in Hungary's largest credit institution, OTP, which is the sole proprietor of Bulgaria's DSK Bank.