EFG has reached an agreement with private shareholders of Universal Bank in Ukraine to acquire shares representing 99.34% of the bank’ s share capital. Universal Bank is a medium-sized bank based in Lviv andfocused on Western Ukraine and Kiev operating a network of 32 branches with ca. 480 employees. At the end of 2005 Universal Bank had Shareholders’ Equity of USD 16.5 million and Total Assets of USD 79 million under IFRS. The Bank is affiliated to the Universal Investment Group, active in insurance, retail fuel distribution, in the food sector and in construction & real estate.
Universal Bank employs a variety of distribution channels and offers a wide range of retail banking and commercial banking products, including consumer and auto loans, mortgages, deposits, credit cards, money transfer and currency services, retail brokerage, insurance and investment products, as well as trade and working capital finance, factoring, term financing and custodian services to institutional investors.
Eurobank EFG considers that Ukraine, with a population of ca. 47 million, will experience high rates of economic growth in the medium-term. The very low penetration rates of banking products and especially of household lending point to a very significant growth potential for the country’s banking system, which is already experiencing one of the fastest growth rates in Eastern Europe. Eurobank EFG believes that the acquisition of Universal Bank allows it to enter this attractive market and expand to achieve strong nationwide coverage, building a leading bank in the Ukrainian market.
The acquisition of Universal Bank in Ukraine follows the roll out of a branch network in Poland and the acquisition of Tekfenbank in Turkey earlier this year and is consistent with the announced strategy of Eurobank EFG group to expand its activities in the most important markets of Southern and Eastern Europe. Furthermore, this transaction is in line with Eurobank EFG’s practice of entering new countries with selective investments, aiming to create shareholder value through organic growth achieved via offering superior quality of service.
Closing of the transaction, is subject to regulatory approvals in Ukraine, Greece and Switzerland,and is expected to occur in the fourth quarter of 2006.