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IFC Helps Ukraine’s TAS-Kommerzbank Improve Corporate Governance, Supporting Its Acquisition by Swedbank


In Ukraine
Desmond O’Maonaigh
Tel: (+38 044) 490 64 00
domaonaigh@ifc.org


Ukraine, February 14, 2007 - IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, has helped Ukraine’s TAS-Kommerzbank upgrade its corporate governance, leading to its acquisition by Swedbank.  IFC’s help came through its Ukraine Banking Sector Corporate Governance project, in which TAS-Kommerzbank has been a pilot bank.  The project is funded by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs of Switzerland (SECO).

Last week Swedbank, a Swedish firm, signed an agreement to acquire TAS-Kommerzbank for $735 million. Headquartered in Kiev, TAS-Kommerzbank is Ukraine’s thirteenth-largest bank based on total loans and one of the faster growing in the retail segment. It has 170 branches and 2,300 employees, serving over 100,000 retail and 9,000 corporate clients.

The management of TAS-Kommerzbank has been committed to attracting a major injection of foreign capital. To achieve this, the bank sought to upgrade its internal operations and procedures, including corporate governance. Since October 2005, IFC has helped the bank improve its corporate governance practices, and in January 2006, it was accepted into IFC’s Corporate Governance Improvement Program. Among the conditions to participate were disclosure of beneficial owners and appointment of at least one independent member to the bank’s supervisory board.

IFC’s corporate governance assessment was the basis for a detailed work plan to improve the bank’s governance. IFC’s support for implementation and subsequent training enabled TAS-Kommerzbank to improve its supervisory and management structure, establish the position of corporate secretary, and appoint an independent supervisory board member. The bank also adapted its internal documents to bring them into line with best practices. IFC also worked to expand the bank’s information disclosure and improve the quality and transparency of its annual report. As a result, in 2005, TAS-Kommerzbank won first prize at the All Ukrainian Annual Report Competition for Banks.

Desmond O’Maonaigh, IFC Project Manager, commented: “The announcement of the bank’s sale to a Swedish investor has crowned their efforts to improve corporate governance. We are delighted to see that our client banks are succeeding in tapping more and more foreign loans and equity capital. TAS-Kommerzbank is the most recent example of an IFC project client that has executed an important transaction on very attractive terms.”  

Swedbank’s purchase price for TAS-Kommerzbank includes an equity contribution of $50 million, to be made around the time the transaction closes. At the end of 2006, TAS-Kommerzbank had total assets of $1.142 billion, loans of $834 million, and deposits of $675 million. Its equity, including the upcoming contribution from Swedbank, stands at $177 million.

"We are investing in a bank geared for rapid growth, with experienced management that is committed to our agreed strategy,” said Jan Lidén, CEO of Swedbank.

"TAS is yet another step in Swedbank’s growth, following our success in the Baltic countries. Ukraine is an important tiger economy, with impressive growth rate and positive development,” said Carl Eric Stĺlberg, Executive Chairman of Swedbank.

TAS-Kommerzbank’s CEO, Sergiy Tigipko, has over 14 years of top-level banking experience and will continue to act as CEO, with overall responsibility for the bank’s business and development. He formerly served as the governor of Ukraine’s central bank as well as its minister of economy and vice prime minister. Mr. Tigipko will report directly to Swedbank CEO Jan Lidén, who will serve as the new chairman of TAS-Kommerzbank.

"This transaction underlines the achievements made by our management team and employees in transforming TAS into one of the fastest growing banks in Ukraine. Our integration into Swedbank enhances our ability to become a market leader in Ukraine, said Mr. Tigipko.

The transaction is subject to customary regulatory approvals. Completion is expected during the second half of 2007.

About IFC

IFC, the private sector arm of the World Bank Group, promotes open and competitive markets in developing countries.  IFC supports sustainable private sector companies and other partners in generating productive jobs and delivering basic services, so that people have opportunities to escape poverty and improve their lives. Through FY06, IFC Financial Products has committed more than $56 billion in funding for private sector investments and mobilized an additional $25 billion in syndications for 3,531 companies in 140 developing countries. IFC Advisory Services and donor partners have provided more than $1 billion in program support to build small enterprises, to accelerate private participation in infrastructure, to improve the business enabling environment, to increase access to finance, and to strengthen environmental and social sustainability. For more information, please visit www.ifc.org.

About SECO



The State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) is the Swiss Confederation's competence centre (www.seco.admin.ch) for all core issues related to the economic policy and for sustainable economic development including the integration of developing and transition countries into the global economy. SECO's aim is to create the basic regulatory and economic policy conditions to enable business to flourish for the benefit of all. In terms of foreign trade policy, SECO is active in the shaping of efficient, fair and transparent rules for the world economy. SECO also represents Switzerland in the large multilateral trade organizations as well as in international negotiations.
In Moscow
Ilya Sverdlov
Phone: +(7) 495 411-7555 x2075

Email:
isverdlov@ifc.org