Bulgarian, Russian Businessmen 'Eyeing Hypo Alpe Adria'

Business » FINANCE | July 10, 2014, Thursday // 17:34
Bulgaria: Bulgarian, Russian Businessmen 'Eyeing Hypo Alpe Adria' Building of the Hypo Alpe Adria Bank Liechtenstein, HAAB, in Vaduz, Liechtenstein. Photo by EPA/BGNES

A US private equity fund, a Russian millionaire and a Bulgarian entrepreneur are showing their interest in Hypo Alpe Adria bank's subsidiaries, an Austrian daily argues.

Hypo Alpe Adria is to sell its branches across Southeast Europe, namely in Serbia, Slovenia, Montenegro, Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina, the countries where it is present.

In an article, Der Standard points Boston-based fund Advent (managing EUR 18 B worth assets), Kazakh-born magnate Igor Kim and the Bulgarian Denis Barekov as candidates to carry out the deal.

The daily says Advent has combined its efforts with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development in its bid to acquire the bank's assets.

Advent was also involved in the privatization of formerly state-owned telecommunications company BTC.

Igor Kim is known for a number of successful deals involving the Russian branches of Western banks such as WestLB, Santander, Barclays Bank and Morgan Stanley.

Denis Barekov, on the other hand, is described by Der Standard as a "Bulgarian oligarch" with the Russian VTB Bank standing behind him.

An inquiry in Bulgaria's trade register shows he owns companies in a range of sectors such as aviation, properties, tourism and finance.

While some media reports describe Denis Barekov (left in the photo above) as a "cousin" of journalist-turned politician Nikolay Barekov (leader of non-parliamentary party Bulgaria without Censorship and currently MEP), the latter himself refutes such claims, calling him a "distant relative" whom he has never seen.

Earlier reports of other outlets, which Der Standard also cited, had pointed Bulgarian banker Tsvetan Vasilev, the major shareholder in Bulgaria's fourth-largest bank KTB, as a potential candidate to acquire Hypo Alpe Adria's Balkan branches.

Bulgarian website Capital.bg wrote Wednesday Hypo Alpe Adria had declined to provide details on a potential deal for its Balkan business, but official information suggests the deal could be sealed until the end of July.

The bank, which Austria nationalized in 2009 to prevent its collapse, is to sell its Balkan network by mid-2015 at the behest of the EU Commission.

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Tags: Hypo Alpe Adria, Denis Barekov, Igor Kim, Tsvetan Tasilev, Advent, Nikolay Barekov, US, VTB, KTB
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