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RBI eyes privatisation of Serbia's Komercijalna Banka - report

Author Radomir Ralev
RBI eyes privatisation of Serbia's Komercijalna Banka - report

BELGRADE (Serbia), May 16 (SeeNews) – The CEO of Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) has said that the Austrian banking group is considering potential participation in the privatisation of Serbia's Komercijalna Banka [BEL:KMBN], German media reported.

"One problem is the high valuations, another problem is whether we, as a foreign bank, are even welcome. This question arises, for example, in the case of Komercijalna Banka, which is being privatised by Serbia," business daily Handelsblatt quoted Johann Strobl as saying on Wednesday.

Last month, Serbia's finance minister Sinisa Mali said the government aims to launch a tender for the sale of its 41.74% shareholding interest in  Komercijalna in May. 

"The Serbian government needs to ensure a transparent sale process. At the moment, I cannot assess the chances we have - there are very different signals from Belgrade," Strobl said.

In February, Serbia's finance ministry signed an agreement with a consortium led by French investment bank Lazard Freres for providing financial advisory services on the privatisation of Komercijalna Banka. The consortium, which also comprises auditing company KPMG and law firm Prica & Partners, will analyse Komercijalna's operations and market, and will organise the procedure for selecting a strategic partner in the capital of Serbia's second largest bank by assets.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) controls 24.43% shareholding interest in Komercijalna Banka. The IFC Capitalization Fund holds a 10.15% stake and the remainder is in the hands of private investors, according to data from the financial statement of Komercijalna Banka for the first quarter of 2019.