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FYR MACEDONIAN BANK COMPLETES PRIVATIZATION PROCESS THROUGH FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT


Julia Zilberman
Phone: (202) 473-7986
Fax: (202) 974-4384
E-mail: jzilberman@ifc.org


—Erste Bank, EBRD, and IFC invest in Stopanska Banka a.d. Skopje—

SKOPJE, MACEDONIA , June 10, 1998--- The International Finance Corporation, Erste Bank der Oesterreichischen Sparkassen A.G. and the European Bank for Reconstruction Development (EBRD), signed agreements today to acquire 55 percent of Stopanska Banka a.d. Skopje (SB), FYR Macedonia’s largest financial intermediary. This financing of SB completes its privatization process.


As part of the privatization, Erste Bank will take a 25 percent stake in Stopanska, while the EBRD and IFC will each purchase a 15 percent stake. In addition, the new investors will provide Stopanska with DM 50 million (ECU 25.4 million) in long-term loans for on-lending to private investors in FYR Macedonia. This is the largest foreign direct investment in the country since its independence.


FYR Macedonia’s leading bank Stopanska Banka’s new management and ownership transfer represents an important step in the government’s economic reform plan. The privatization should improve the Bank’s corporate governance, overall management systems and controls, and help to restore confidence in the financial sector. This, in turn, is likely to have a positive impact on the non-financial sector, domestic savings, and economic growth.


The financing will enhance Stopanska’s capacity for long-term lending and enable it to address the financing needs of private FYR Macedonian companies.  Furthermore, technical assistance by Erste Bank will bring Stopanska in line with international standards and help raise the overall level of service in the banking sector by reducing systemic risk.


The agreements were signed by Mr. Rudolf Penz, Erste Board Member for International Business, Ms. Dragica Pilipovic Chaffey, Co-Director for Financial Institutions at the EBRD, and Ms. Carol Lee, Vice President and General Counsel for IFC. Representing the Macedonian side were Mr. Ljubomir Popovski, General Director of Stopanska Banka AD Skopje, Mr. Taki Fiti, Minister of Finance, Mr. Ljube Trpeski, Governor of the Central Bank, and Mr. Dzevdet Hajredini, Director of the Bank Rehabilitation Agency.


Erste Bank, based in Vienna, is Austria’s second largest bank. It focuses on retail banking and is active in a number of European countries. It has plans for expansion into Eastern Europe, and acquisition of Stopanska is a key part of that strategy.


The EBRD was established in 1991 following the collapse of communism, to aid the transition from centrally planned to market economies in central and eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS). The EBRD is owned by 60 shareholders: 58 countries, the European Investment Bank and the European Community. It operates with ECU 20 billion in authorized capital.


IFC, part of the World Bank Group, fosters economic growth in the developing world by financing private sector divestments, mobilizing capital in the international financial markets and providing technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.
 

Erste Bank in Vienna
Michael Mauritz
Phone:  00431.531.00 ext. 9603
E-mail: Michael.Mauritz@ erstebank.at
 

EBRD in London
Veronique  Cassegrain
Phone:  44.171.338.7237
E-mail:CassegrV@ebrd.com