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EBRD and two private equity firms buy 41.09 per cent stake in Moldova Agroindbank

By Olga Rosca

(l-r) Vasile Tofan, Partner at Horizon Capital, Francis Malige, EBRD Managing Director for Financial Institutions, Vytautas Plunksnis, Head of Private Equity at INVL Asset Management and Vladimir Baldovici, Director General of Moldova’s Public Property Agency, sign the agreement in Chisinau.

The EBRD and the private equity firms AB Invalda INVL and Horizon Capital have today acquired a 41.09 per cent stake in B.C. Moldova Agroindbank S.A. (MAIB) in an auction held by Moldova’s Public Property Agency. The partners paid 451.533 million Moldovan lei (equivalent to €23.031 million).

MAIB is the largest commercial bank in Moldova.

The new shareholders, operating through UK-based company HEIM Partners, will bring the highest standards of corporate governance, new technologies and effective structures to strengthen the performance of Moldova’s leading bank, improve lending services for small businesses and support the wider economy. 

HEIM Partners is owned by the EBRD and Invalda INVL, with 37.5 per cent of shares each, and Horizon Capital, which holds the remaining 25 per cent and is responsible for strategic direction and management of the MAIB stake on behalf of the consortium. 

HEIM Partners has acquired the stake in MAIB in response to the Moldovan government’s search for a reputable investor, as the authorities and the regulator are working to re-establish a well-governed and commercially oriented banking sector.

Francis Malige, EBRD Managing Director for Financial Institutions, welcomed the determination of Moldova’s authorities to reform the banking sector. He said: “The government showed strong political will and resolve to clean up the banking sector. It took a brave decision to support the sale process of MAIB, which – no doubt – will contribute to better banking services and stronger investments in the Moldovan economy as a whole. By doing that, the government backed the National Bank of Moldova in its massive effort to consolidate the banking system and make it more transparent.”

MAIB CEO Serghei Cebotari commented: “Today we are reaching one of the most important moments in Moldova Agroindbank’s history. The bank is happy to enter a new stage of its steady development, which will bring benefits to its customers, shareholders and society at large. MAIB welcomes the new shareholders –international financial institutions that will strengthen the bank’s position and the Moldovan financial sector. Despite difficult periods, MAIB has managed to achieve strong performance and continuous growth. As an institution, we will continue to embrace the highest standards of openness and governance and a corporate culture that is centred on integrity and sustainability.”

The EBRD has been at the forefront of efforts to help the country clean up and modernise its banking sector. Earlier this year, with the EBRD’s support, Romania’s Banca Transilvania acquired a controlling stake in the third-largest Moldovan bank, Victoriabank.

The EBRD is a multilateral bank that promotes the development of the private sector and entrepreneurial initiative in 38 economies across three continents. It is owned by 67 countries, the EU and the EIB. The Bank is the largest institutional investor in Moldova and to date has invested more than €1.2 billion in over 120 projects in the country.

Vilnius-based Invalda INVL is one of the leading asset management groups in the Baltic states. The group’s companies have more than €650 million of assets under management, entrusted to them by more than 190,000 clients in Lithuania and Latvia as well as international investors.

Horizon Capital is the leading private equity firm investing in Ukraine and Moldova through funds with a tenure of 25 years in the region. Backed by over 40 institutional investors from US and Europe, the firm has over $800 million under management. Horizon Capital is an active value-added investor, backing visionary entrepreneurs transforming the business landscape in the region.

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