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IFR: BTA Sets out Post Restructuring Plans - Sandrine Bradley

05.08.2010 / Business New Europe, http://www.businessneweurope.eu 

As the restructuring of Kazakhstan’s BTA Bank enters its final phase, chairman Anvar Saidenov has set out the bank’s post-restructuring plans and has predicted that it will remain in the hands of state fund Samruk-Kazyna for the foreseeable future. This is despite much publicised interest from Sberbank in acquiring a 100% stake in the new BTA.

“There is a general objective that at one point Samruk-Kazyna will exit the bank because it is not a profile investment for such a fund, but it could take two to three years before it can recover its investment and find an appropriate strategic investor,” Saidenov told IFR.

“Sberbank will wait until the restructuring is fully completed, both legally and formally; this way it will have a chance to see how profitable and sustainable the bank is post-restructuring and how viable it is as an institution,” he said.

BTA is finalising technical and legal issues in connection with its restructuring, including claims settlements and the distribution of a certain amount of cash (US$1bn) and voting shares for BTA creditors. By the end of August, a general shareholders meeting will elect a new supervisory board that will have independent directors and directors who will be represented by the creditors.

All the new debt instruments are also expected to be in place. By September 1, the bank expects to be in compliance with the prudential requirements for the necessary capital adequacy ratio, paving the way for a formal completion of the restructuring on September 5.

Saidenov said that once the restructuring was complete, the bank would begin to implement the business model agreed with creditors. Certain criteria would be met by the end of 2010 with others set to be completed by 2014.

“Post-restructuring, we plan to move away from large corporate lending and focus instead on SME and retail clients; we are already implementing this new policy,” he said. “We will primarily be targeting non-interest revenues; the macroeconomic climate in Kazakhstan is not good and clients still have problems servicing debt so we will be concentrating on money transfers, opening accounts and servicing them – this will be an important revenue stream.”

BTA plans to reduce its corporate loan portfolio by 2014 from 80% to 50% while it aims to make SME clients 30% of its new business model and retail 20% with a bigger focus on the domestic market.

“We are working very hard to recover assets – some are physically located within the CIS; and some are offshore in the UK and other jurisdictions – we will aim to do this by the end of 2010,” said Saidenov.