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SOFIA, Jan 27 (Reuters) - The majority owner of Bulgaria's small Corporate Commercial Bank CORP.BB has reached a deal to sell a 30 percent stake to an Omani fund for an undisclosed sum, the bank said in a statement.
Corpbank, Bulgaria’s tenth-largest bank in terms if assets, said majority owner Bromac has signed a preliminary accord to sell 1.8 million shares or 30 percent of its capital to Luxemburg-registered Bulgarian Acquisition Company II (BAC II).
The bank said BAC II was controlled by the Oman State General Reserve Fund, which is one of the key investment institutions of the government of the Sultan of Oman.
“The planned deal will allow the bank to become a leader in the corporate lending in Bulgaria and offer a broad range of products to its clients,” the bank said in a filing with the Bulgarian Stock Exchange.
The news came after the close of trade on Tuesday at Sofia’s exchange. The trading in Corpbank closed at 65 levs a share on Tuesday, putting the bank’s market capitalisation at 390 million levs ($263.3 million).
Corpbank’s net profit rose 74 percent to 40.3 million levs ($27.21 million) in 2008, its unaudited annual report showed. Its total assets stood at 2.1 billion levs, it said.
Bulgarian company Bromac controls 57.8 percent of Corpbank. Another 23.3 percent is owned by Bulgarian Institute of Microelectronics, the bank data from December 2008 showed. It floated 20 percent at the Sofia’s exchange in 2007.
About 80 percent of the 29 commercial banks operating in Bulgaria are foreign owned.
Last year, Allied Irish Banks bought 49.99 percent in specialist business lender Bulgarian-American Credit Bank for 216 million euros.
Commercial banks have significantly curtailed lending in the Balkan country since October, following the tighter global liquidity and global economic downturn that analysts may lead to a hard landing for Bulgaria. (Reporting by Tsvetelia Ilieva; Editing by Andrew Macdonald)
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