TODAY.AZ / Business

EBRD allocated first syndicated loan to UniBank

09 April 2005 [15:12] - TODAY.AZ
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is leading the first international syndicate to lend $5 million to a private bank in Azerbaijan, as part of efforts to encourage the Caspian seaside nation to foster competition in the banking sector and to further diversify the non-oil sector of its economy.
The EBRD is directly lending UniBank, one of Azerbaijan’s largest private sector banks, $1.5 million over three years.

Anglo Romanian Bank and Bank Austria Creditanstalt will provide $3.5 million, for one year, with a one-year extension option. UniBank will use the proceeds of the loan to expand lending to private corporate customers, including smaller businesses.

UniBank, formed from a merger in 2002, has been 20 per cent owned by the EBRD since 2003 and has one of the most developed corporate governance practices in the country. While Azerbaijan’s banking sector is still dominated by state-owned banks, which control more than 60 per cent of banking assets, competition in the sector is increasing.

UniBank has created a niche for itself through an operational focus on lending to small and medium sized regional companies. With existing branches in Baku, the port capital, and the economically important inland city of Gyanja, which straddles trade routes across the Caucasus region - and with plans to open two further regional branches this year -- it is well placed to expand these operations.


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