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Deputy minister: Foreign investors want to buy two Ukrainian state-owned banks

by Vladyslav Kudryk January 24, 2024 3:08 PM 2 min read
Deputy Finance Minister Yurii Drahanchuk attends the presentation of the Annual Report 2020 of the Business Development Fund in Kyiv. (Olena Khudiakova/ Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
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Foreign investors expressed interest in purchasing two Ukrainian state-owned banks, Ukrgasbank and Sense Bank, Deputy Finance Minister Yurii Drahanchuk told Ukrainska Pravda, the outlet reported on Jan. 24.

Both banks were among the 10 most profitable banks in Ukraine in 2023. Ukrgasbank is a Ukrainian commercial bank founded in 1993. Sense Bank, a Ukrainian branch of Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman's Alfa-Bank, was nationalized in the summer of 2023 as its owner had been placed under sanctions.

"We are actively preparing them for sale. We received these signals at the end of last year, starting in the fall," Drahanchuk said.

The potential investors are encouraging Ukraine to finalize the deal soon, and the banks themselves are preparing for the purchase, Drahanchuk said. At the same time, the Finance Ministry and the World Bank are working on legal amendments to make the sale as transparent as possible.

Drahanchuk added that Ukraine wants to sell the two banks this year.

According to the deputy minister, the state has a strategy to reduce its presence in the banking sector. Still, it is not ready yet to sell the country's largest bank, PrivatBank, which generates $1 billion of state budget revenue.

Ukraine's Sixth Administrative Court of Appeal overturned the decision of lower courts in November, confirming the legality of PrivatBank's nationalization and ruling it cannot be regained by its former owners.

The decision closed the case, which has dragged on since 2017. PrivatBank, which was formerly owned by oligarch Ihor Kolomoisky and Hennadii Boholiubov, was declared insolvent by Ukraine's National Bank due to its high capital losses and was subsequently nationalized in 2016.

ABH Holdings S.A. (ABHH) banking group, whose main shareholder is Mikhail Fridman, said earlier in January that it filed an arbitration request and a claim of over $1 billion against Ukraine over the nationalization of Sense Bank.

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