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EBRD sells its holding in Bank of Georgia

By Anthony Williams

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The EBRD has sold its 5% stake in Bank of Georgia Holdings Plc, the country’s largest bank.

The 1,795,503 shares, representing the EBRD’s entire holding in Bank of Georgia, were sold in an Accelerated Bookbuild Offering launched after the stock market close in London on 23 September 2014. The transaction was successfully completed at a small discount to yesterday’s closing price of GBP 24.98 on the London Stock Exchange. The shares were placed with a broad range of international institutional investors through RBC Capital Markets and UBS Limited as joint bookrunners.

The EBRD‘s relationship with Bank of Georgia dates back to 1995. Since that time, the EBRD has provided Bank of Georgia with a range of products, including SME and energy efficiency credit lines, co-financing facilities as well as subordinated and convertible loans.

The EBRD had held its current shareholding since early 2012 following the conversion of a financial package provided in December 2008 as part of its response to the effects of the global financial crisis. This financing helped rebuild confidence in the Georgian financial market and supported Bank of Georgia’s successful growth strategy and subsequent premium listing on the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

Nick Tesseyman, EBRD Managing Director, Financial Institutions, said: “The EBRD’s role in supporting Bank of Georgia in the aftermath of the 2008 crisis is now complete. The premium listing on the LSE was a landmark moment for the bank and the EBRD is confident that it is now well-placed to continue its dynamic development in the future. The EBRD will continue to provide debt financing to Bank of Georgia going forward as part of our continued support to the Georgian financial sector.”

Irakli Gilauri, Bank of Georgia’s CEO, said: “We appreciate the support the bank has received from the EBRD over the past 19 years as the bank has transformed itself into a dynamic financial institution spanning a range of product areas. We are especially gratified that existing investors have increased their stakes and that we are also attracting new institutional shareholders. This transaction illustrates the depth of support for the bank from international investors and signals increasing investor interest in Georgia’s capital market. We are looking forward to continuing our strong relationship with the EBRD on a number of other longer term funding projects.”

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