By Aynur Jafarova
The Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB) will consider the allocation of its largest loan for Azerbaijan's state energy company SOCAR on June 22, BSTDB chairman Andrey Kondakov was quoted by Trend news agency as saying.
"The Board of Directors of the bank will consider this issue on Saturday during a meeting in Baku. If the deal is approved, the credit will be the largest in the history of the BSTDB. The amount of the credit will be $5 billion," Kondakov told journalists.
Acording to him, the allocated amount will be directed to the implementation of a project related to oil refining outside Azerbaijan.
"Such a big deal is a good indicator of trust. BSTDB considers Azerbaijan as a very reliable partner," Kondakov added.
Kondakov went on to say that in the course of the work planned within the framework of the BSTDB Annual Meeting, the bank will study Azerbaijan's experience in economic diversification.
Baku will host the 15th Annual Meeting of the BSTDB Governing Council on June 20-23. A business forum to be joined by international financial institutions of the bank's member countries will be held at the event.
"One of the goals of the business forum is the presentation of the Azerbaijani economy and establishment of a [favorable] business and investment climate for foreign investors and international financial institutions in the country. This will strengthen and expand economic ties among the bank's member countries," Kondakov said.
Policymakers, experts, representatives of financial institutions and the private sector will exchange views on the international experience and lessons learned on economic diversification. The business forum will also offer excellent opportunities to the Azerbaijani and regional business and investor communities to network and discuss business proposals with BSTDB and other financial institutions.
The business forum, which will take place on June 21 at Four Seasons Hotel Baku, is organized in cooperation with the Azerbaijani government, Azerbaijan Export and Investment Promotion Foundation (AZPROMO) and the local business community. The Business Council of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation will also participate in the event.
BSTDB is an international financial institution established by Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldova, Romania, Russia, Turkey, and Ukraine. The bank supports economic development and regional cooperation by providing trade and project financing, guarantees and equity for development projects supporting both public and private enterprises in its member countries.
Currently, the bank's activities are mainly focused on the financial sector. BSTDB has opened credit lines to 10 Azerbaijani banks - International Bank of Azerbaijan, Access Bank, AGBank, Unibank, Texnika Bank, Demir Bank, Kapital Bank, Azer-Turk Bank, Bank Standard and Bank Respublika.
At present, Greece, Russia and Turkey remain the bank's largest shareholders with stakes of 16.5 percent each. Romania owns 14 percent, while Bulgaria and Ukraine - 13.5 percent each, Azerbaijan 5 percent, Albania 2 percent, Armenia and Moldova - one percent each, and Georgia - 0.5 percent.
The bank's governor from Azerbaijan is Minister of Economic Development Shahin Mustafayev and his deputy is Finance Minister Samir Sharifov.