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Bulgarian investment fund completes acquisition of MICB

posted onMarch 27, 2019

Bulgarian fund Doverie United Holding has completed the purchase of Moldindconbank (MICB), Moldova's second-largest lender, the Sofia-based investment company has announced. 

Doverie-Invest, a subsidiary of  Doverie United Holding responsible for the takeover, said that it was now drawing up plans to modernise the Moldovan lender and strengthen its market position. Currently, MICB, has a market share of more than 20 percent of the Moldovan banking sector.

On March 18, the vendor, Moldovan Public Property Agency, announced that Doverie-Invest won a public tender for the acquisition of 63.8865% interest in MICB for 764 million leva (57.6 million US dollars). 

Last month, Doverie-Invest signed a preliminary agreement for the acquisition of the majority stake in MICB, giving the Bulgarian firm the right to participate in a public tender with a starting price of 76.6 million levs ($44.4 million/39.2 million euro) for the 3,173,751 shares in the bank.

On January 23, the National Bank of Moldova (NBM), which is working with the government on banking reforms, granted permission for the acquisition.  

“Doverie United Holding intends to come up to Moldindconbank with a team of managers with a broad international experience in the banking sector. In this regard, the NBM assesses the intention of the potential investor as a notable opportunity to develop Moldindconbank on long-term and to increase the competitiveness and quality of services provided to its customers” NMB said in a statement. 

The central bank wanted MICB sold to a foreign investor as part of a clean-up of the financial system, demanded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other creditors.

MICB is the third major financial institution sold, following a series of bank frauds in 2014 that shook the Moldovan economy, when more than one billion US dollars disappeared from three of the country’s lenders, that have since been liquidated.

Last October,  the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), together with two private equity investment funds bought 41% of Moldova-Agroindbank's shares.  Moldova-Agroindbank is the country’s largest lender.

This is not the first interest of the Bulgarian fund in the Moldovan market. In 2017, Doverie took steps to acquire more than 50% of the capital of another commercial bank of the country, B.C. Victoriabank but “for objective reasons the transaction did not take place”.

In 2016, MICB was placed under interim administration after NBM that a group of investors acquired a 63.8% in the bank without prior authorisation. In 2018, MICB's assets stood at around 963 million US dollars.