Azerbaijan’s finance minister talks interest of foreign investors in IBA shares [UPDATE]

7 September 2018 14:01 (UTC+04:00)

By Sara Israfilbayova

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is interested in buying the state-owned shares of the International Bank of Azerbaijan (IBA).

Azerbaijani Finance Minister Samir Sharifov told reporters that in order for the deal to take place, a consultant should be attracted and a business strategy should be prepared.

“For now, work continues in this direction. A business strategy is very important, because investors make decision based on the strategy. EBRD is showing interest in the IBA shares, but first of all a new business model of the bank should be compiled,” the minister underlined.

Sharifov said that creation of the new IBA business strategy is also one of the conditions of the EBRD.

The IBA, founded in 1992, has been at the stage of recovery since July 2015, which is associated with the preparation for the privatization of state-owned shares of the bank. To restore the bank’s financial position, its distressed assets were transferred to the Aqrarkredit non-bank credit institution.

In exchange for distressed assets, the Aqrarkredit provides the IBA with liquid funds. At the same time, the restructuring of IBA’s foreign obligations has recently been completed. Over 95 percent of the Bank's shares are owned by the government.

Further, he touched upon the issue of execution of the state budget and said that for January-September the figure amounteto 98 percent.

He went on to say that the financing of the Southern Gas Corridor project continues in the normal mode.

“Funds for the implementation of the project are being phased in. Currently, negotiations are underway with a number of international financial institutions, but a concrete result will be in 2019,” he stressed.

The Southern Gas Corridor is one of the priority energy projects for the European Union, which aims to diversify routes and sources of energy supplies and thereby improve the energy security of the EU.

The Southern Gas Corridor is intended to deliver gas from the Azerbaijani gas condensate field Shah Deniz to Europe.

Gas as part of the second stage of the field development will be exported to Turkey and the European markets through the expansion of the South Caucasus gas pipeline and the construction of the TANAP and TAP gas pipelines.

The cost of the Southern Gas Corridor project is estimated at $41.5 billion.

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Sara Israfilbayova is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow her on Twitter: @Sara_999Is

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