Source: Novosti | Tuesday, 06.02.2018.| 12:19

Sale of Telenor Bank falls through – Bulgarian River Styxx Capital fails to obtain permission from NBS

The Bulgarian fund River Styxx Capital will not become the owner of Telenor Bank, Novosti reports, saying that it has been confirmed for the daily by the National Bank of Serbia (NBS) that the fund did not get a permission for the acquisition of a majority share package of the bank owned by the telecommunications operator.

– The NBS did not give permission to the said fund to take over a majority share package in Telenor Bank, that is, it didn't issue consent for acquiring an ownership in the bank, because it had determined from the submitted request and documentation that the company didn't meet the conditions defined by the regulations of the Republic of Serbia – the NBS said.

Telenor has confirmed that permission for a strategic partnership with River Styxx Capital in Telenor Bank, which entails the takeover of 85% of the bank's shares, was not given.

– The strategic partnership with the River Styxx Capital fund is an important step, as we want to further develop the operations of Telenor Bank and the portfolio of the services we offer – said Ingeborg Ofsthus, CEO of Telenor Serbia and Chairwoman of the Managing Board of Telenor Bank.

She also said that “Telenor believes that the partner's reputation, expertise and business experience in the financial sector are valuable to the future operations of the bank. In the upcoming period, we will support each step that will contribute to the positive outcome of this process”.

Elvin Guri, CEO of River Styxx Capital announces that he will strive for their investment to be realized.

– We believe deeply in the potential of Telenor Bank and we want to enter the banking market of Serbia as a new investor. We will continue talking to the competent state institutions, aiming to find the best solution. We are convinced in the success of this partnership and that it will bring new benefits to both the clients of Telenor Bank and the Serbian market – Elvin Guri says.

Guri, a Bulgarian businessman originating from Albania, previously founded the non-banking institution JetFinance, which he later sold to the French group BNP Paribas. Before he turned entrepreneur, Guri worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers and the EBRD in Sofia and London.

Let us remind that Telenor founded Telenor Bank in 2014 by purchasing what was then KBC Bank, which had no clients and which had been taken over by Societe Generale. This way, Telenor practically bought the banking license for operations in Serbia. Although the sales and purchase price had not been disclosed, the company has pointed out that the total investment for the establishment of the first online mobile bank in the region amounted to around EUR 40 million. The bank has more than 350,000 clients.
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