The EBRD and IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, are deepening their partnership with Bank of Georgia, converting some of their loans to the bank into equity to help the bank strengthen its capital base, increase competitiveness and expand operations thus supporting the financial sector in the country.
The two convertible subordinated loans – US$ 26 million each from IFC and the EBRD – were part of a US$ 200 million financing package that the international financial institutions provided to Bank of Georgia in December 2008. As a result of the conversions, the EBRD and IFC each become 4.58 per cent shareholders in Bank of Georgia, which recently took a premium listing on the London Stock Exchange(LSE).
Irakli Gilauri, Bank of Georgia CEO, said: “Bank of Georgia’s decision to move to premium listing on the LSE was met with strong support from our long-time partners IFC and the EBRD. With the premium listing, which is aimed at expanding the exposure to investors and increasing the liquidity of the stock, Bank of Georgia is offering investors high transparency combined with access to the fast-growing and well-regulated Georgian financial services market.”
The LSE states that premium listing means the company is expected to meet the UK’s highest standards of regulation and corporate governance – and as a consequence may enjoy a lower cost of capital through greater transparency and through building investor confidence.
Paul-Henri Forestier, EBRD Director for Caucasus, Moldova & Belarus, said: “The EBRD supports Bank of Georgia’s successful premium listing on the London Stock Exchange. The bank is the first Georgian company to receive this recognition on the international capital markets. This provides excellent visibility not only for the bank but for Georgia as well. The EBRD will continue to support the Georgian banking sector.”
Tomasz Telma, IFC Director for Europe and Central Asia, said: “We have supported the Georgian banking sector during good times and during the most challenging times to help create a stable and strong financial system. By becoming a shareholder of Bank of Georgia we are contributing to broadening access to finance for its clients, small and medium companies, which is crucial for employment and the growth of Georgian economy.”
Bank of Georgia is the leading bank in Georgia, with a 35.6 per cent market share in total assets, 34.5 per cent market share in total loans, and 35.6 per cent market share in client deposits. The bank offers a broad range of corporate banking, retail banking, wealth management, brokerage and insurance services.