SOFIA, April 28 (Reuters) - Bulgaria’s First Investment Bank said on Friday it had hired Citigroup to advise the country’s third largest lender on its strategic options, including the possibility of attracting new core investors.
“The bank is reviewing strategic opportunities which may include: entering into strategic partnerships and/or consolidations; attracting new core investors; raising new capital to fund the future growth of the bank,” it said.
The bank has said it has been working to diversify its loan portfolio and reduce its credit risk in cooperation with international consultant Bain &Co.
Earlier this month, Fibank said it has met central bank recommendations to raise about 206 million levs ($115 million) in additional capital by reporting pre-tax, pre-provision profit of 266 million levs for 2016.
The central bank told Fibank to raise additional capital after an asset quality review slashed its CET 1 capital ratio to 5.2 percent, and when tested under a theoretical severe economic crisis this fell to -6.9 percent.
Fibank’s financial results showed its CET 1 capital ratio stood at 12 percent in 2016, while its overall capital adequacy was at 15 percent. It’s total assets stood at 8.85 billion levs.
At present, Fibank is controlled by Bulgarian businessmen Tzeko Minev and Ivaylo Mutafchiev, each with 42.5 percent stakes. ($1 = 1.7953 leva) (Reporting by Tsvetelia Tsolova; editing by Alexander Smith)
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