TBI IS LOOKING FOR NEW NICHES
We are searching for new business opportunities in Bulgaria, explained Ivo Georgiev, Executive Director of the newly-established TBI Finance Service to the BANKER weekly. The company is entirely owned by the Dutch financial holding TBI. The new company's operations will include financial leasing, financial management, mortgage and crediting business. It will also participate in the acquisition and management of banks in Central and Eastern Europe. Therefore, the new company will not be operating in Bulgaria only but in the whole region, added Mr. Georgiev, who used to represent Bulgaria to EBRD-London, which in turn is a shareholder in TBI Holding - the Netherlands.TBI stepped onto the Bulgarian financial market in 1993 and took part in the establishment of Doverie pension insurance company a year later. After restructuring its business, the Dutch company founded the Bulgarian Insurance and Pension Holding (BIPH) in 1999 in cooperation with EBRD. At present the holding controls 85.33% of Doverie's capital, as well as 69.24% of the shares in Bulstrad insurance and reinsurance company. Through its insurance company, BIPH controls another 36.36% in Bulstrad-DSK-Zhivot, 81% in European Insurance Reinsurance Brokers, and 33.34% in Tokuda Credit Express Bank.The acquisition of a bank is a priority task for the managers of TBI Finance Service.We are not quite satisfied with our investment in Tokuda Credit Express Bank as we do not really participate in its management, explained Ivo Georgiev. That is why we shall either try to sell our shares in the bank or negotiate with the majority owner to increase our stake. There has been no concrete result from the negotiations so far.Beside dealing with the problem with Tokuda Credit Express Bank, TBI Finance Service managers already announced the willingness of the company's owners to acquire the state-owned Biochim commercial bank.If we fail in the forthcoming procedure for privatisation of Biochim and in reaching an agreement with the majority shareholder in Tokuda Credit Express Bank, we may decide to establish a new bank, Mr. Georgiev is adamant.TBI Finance Service is also planning to acquire banks in the rest of the Central and Eastern Europe, where the Dutch financial holding develops its own business. The managers of the new company are already examining the Belgrade-based Dunavska Banka, as well as a few banks in Romania and Slovakia.