February 6, 2019 / 3:09 PM / 13 days ago

Serbia picks Lazard-led consortium to advise on major bank sale

BELGRADE (Reuters) - Serbia’s government has chosen financial adviser Lazard, the Belgrade-based office of auditors KPMG and local law firm Prica and Partneri for the privatization of Komercijalna Banka, the finance ministry said on Wednesday.

Serbia last year invited applications for a financial adviser to sell the government’s stake in the Balkan country’s second largest lender.

“The next step is an analysis of bank’s financial position and preparation of all necessary documents needed for the (privatization) tender,” the ministry said in a statement.

The state is the single largest shareholder in the bank, holding 41.75 percent. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), part of the World Bank group, hold 24.43 and 10.15 percent respectively.

A day earlier, Sinisa Mali, Serbia’s Finance Minister said the tender for the sale would be launched in May or June.

Serbia wants to privatize Komercijalna Banka as part of 30-month non-financial advisory and monitoring program Between Belgrade and the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Last month, Komercijalna Banka’s CEO Vladimir Medan said the lender has put its 2018 consolidated profit estimate at around 8.35 billion dinars ($80.37 million), the highest in a decade.

Bermuda-headquartered Lazard had a market share of 25.1 percent for completed deals globally in the latest reported quarter, according to Refinitiv data.

($1 = 103.8900 Serbian dinars)

Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Louise Heavens

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