WASHINGTON, D.C., June 8, 2000—In support
of the first financial sector privatization in Albania, the International
Finance Corporation (IFC), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
(EBRD), and Kentbank of Turkey (KB) are joining forces to privatize the
National Commercial Bank.
NCB's privatization will help restore confidence in the banking system,
upgrade corporate governance, and increase mobilization of savings. It
will also add to competition in Albania's banking sector, enhance industry
standards, and provide better service to customers, especially to small
and medium private businesses. In addition, the project will include a
significant transfer of banking technology and skills.
NCB was established in January 1993 as the result of a merger of the National
Bank and the Commercial Bank. In 1998, the Albanian government moved to
privatize NCB with World Bank assistance to restructure the balance sheet,
finance the appointment of consultants to manage NCB in the interim, and
overview the privatization process. NCB's privatization is also an important
element of the structural reforms supported by the IMF program in Albania.
Following their acquisition of NCB, IFC and the EBRD will each make an
equity investment of US$2 million in NCB and Kentbank will provide US$6
million in equity.
Albania's Minister of Finance, H.E. Mr. Anastas Angjeli said at the signing,
"The project will restore confidence in the Albanian banking system,
which has been growing strongly in the past three years. The transfer in
NCB's ownership to the private sector represents an important step in the
government's economic reform program."
Mr. Peter Woicke, IFC's Executive Vice President, noted at the signing,
"IFC is pleased to be associated with this project. This is Albania's
first financial sector privatization and has great significance for the
banking industry and for the country. It will strengthen NCB's corporate
governance and overall management systems and controls and have a positive
impact on domestic savings and economic growth."
Mr. Charles Frank, the EBRD's Acting President, said, "This will be
the first major privatisation in the country since the collapse of the
communist regime in the early 1990s. Its success will act as a stimulus
for the privatisation of other state-owned companies in the country. This
investment is in line with the EBRD's aim to develop a sound banking sector
in a well-regulated and competitive environment, geared towards serving
the needs of small and medium-sized enterprises."
Mr. Mustafa Süzer, Chairman of Kentbank, said, "Kentbank's acquisition
of the majority stake in NCB demonstrates its firm commitment to Albania's
economic growth and development. It also establishes a presence in the
Balkans in accordance with Kentbank's strategy to become a major regional
bank in the area."
Kentbank was established in 1992 by the Süzer Group, one of the larger
industrial groups in Turkey, and the fourth largest in terms of capital.
Its main shareholder is Süzer Holding, which owns 98 percent of the share
capital. Kentbank's focus is on corporate and retail banking. It has 91
branches in Turkey and plans to increase this number to 100 in the next
The EBRD was established in 1991 to aid the transition from centrally planned
to market economies in central and eastern Europe and the Commonwealth
of Independent States. It is owned by 61 shareholders – 59 countries,
the European Investment Bank and the European Community – and operates
with €20 billion in authorised capital.
The mission of IFC, part of the World Bank Group, is to promote private
sector investment in developing countries, which will reduce poverty and
improve people's lives. IFC finances private sector investments in the
developing world, mobilizes capital in the international financial markets,
and provides technical assistance and advice to governments and businesses.
IFC's financial sector strategy in Albania includes bank privatization,
development of new financial intermediaries and products, and support to
small and medium businesses as well as micro-enterprises.