EBRD and IFC to acquire stakes in TBC Bank Uzbekistan

By Anton Usov

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The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) are promoting increased private-sector participation in Uzbekistan’s banking sector by acquiring stakes in TBC Bank Uzbekistan (TBC UZ), a subsidiary of TBC Bank Group, the largest banking group in Georgia and listed on the London Stock Exchange. The investment is aimed at strengthening digital finance in Uzbekistan and thereby boosting financial inclusion in the country.

The two institutional investors – the EBRD and IFC – are planning to acquire stakes of up to 20 per cent each in TBC UZ. The investments will support the continued operational growth of this newly established private market player and promote international standards of corporate governance in the sector. The first subscription will be US$ 9.4 million for each of the two investors, with an intention to support future capital increases over the period 2022-24.

TBC UZ, the first digital bank in Uzbekistan, was launched in October 2020 and has since grown rapidly. Today, it operates through two smart, next-generation branches and 34 “client liaison points” across 12 regional cities. TBC UZ provides innovative financial products and offers a first-class customer experience to more than 630,000 registered retail users. Expansion to the small business segment is envisaged for the near future.

Vakhtang Butskhrikidze, Chief Executive Officer of TBC Bank, commented: "We have a long history of successful cooperation with the IFC and EBRD, which have stood firmly by our side for two decades. I am extremely grateful to them for embarking on this exciting next stage of our journey with us. This joint venture arrangement marks another important milestone for our expansion in Uzbekistan, allowing us to accelerate our growth in the country and offer a wide range of innovative and affordable products to the population. TBC UZ successfully operates based on our innovative fintech platform, Space, which offers retail banking solutions through a mobile app.” 

Wiebke Schloemer, IFC Director for Europe and Central Asia, said: “We are further deepening our partnership with TBC Bank Group. IFC is supporting TBC’s efforts in expanding banking services, based on innovative and technological solutions, across Uzbekistan. This investment is also well aligned with our strategy to help Uzbekistan promote greater market competitiveness through increasing the share of private-sector participation in the banking industry.”

Alkis Drakinos, EBRD Director, Head of Uzbekistan, said: “This is the first equity investment in the banking sector of Uzbekistan since the EBRD’s re-engagement with the country in 2017. TBC has been our longstanding and trusted partner for two decades now. We are happy to support its expansion in Uzbekistan, thus increasing the percentage of private capital in the local banking sector. We welcome competition and expect it to benefit everyone.”

About TBC

TBC Bank Group is a public limited company listed on the London Stock Exchange. It is a holding company of JSC TBC Bank and a group of companies that principally operate in Georgia in the financial sector and other closely related fields. Together with its subsidiaries, TBC is a leading universal banking group in Georgia, with a total market share of 38.1 per cent of customer loans and 37.8 per cent of customer deposits. As a technology-driven company, with a mission to make people’s lives easier, TBC holds dominant positions in all major business lines for retail, corporate, and micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs). The company’s financial services include traditional banking offerings as well as the industry’s cutting-edge solutions. In 2020, TBC PLC expanded its operations in Uzbekistan, serving customers through its innovative fintech platform, Space, offering retail banking solutions through a mobile app.

For more information, see: https://www.tbcbankgroup.com

https://www.tbcbank.ge/web/en

About the EBRD

The EBRD is a multilateral bank that promotes the development of the private sector and entrepreneurial initiative in 38 economies across three continents. The Bank is owned by 70 countries as well as the EU and the EIB. EBRD investments are aimed at making the economies in its regions competitive, inclusive, well governed, green, resilient and integrated. To date, the EBRD has invested almost €2.6 billion in 101 projects in Uzbekistan.

About IFC
IFC – a member of the World Bank Group – is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2021, IFC committed a record US$ 31.5 billion to private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity as economies grapple with the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.

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