Kazakh Alliance Bank in stake sale talks with EBRD

April 27. Reuters. ALMATY

By Dmitry Solovyov

* Alliance does not expect stake sale in coming months
* Sovereign wealth fund says keen to sell its Alliance stake

Kazakh Alliance Bank in stake sale talks with EBRDAlliance Bank , Kazakhstan’s sixth-largest lender by assets, said it was in talks with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development [EBRD.UL] on the possible sale of its stake.

“Yes, we are in talks with the EBRD about the potential acquisition of a stake in Alliance Bank,” Maral Amrina, managing director of Alliance Bank, told a teleconference on Wednesday.

“The size of the stake is still not certain, and the process itself is now at an early stage. You know, the EBRD is not the quickest decision-maker … we do not expect anything concrete to be signed in the coming months.”

Alliance Bank was part of a group of Kazakhstan’s largest banks which defaulted during the global financial crisis and completed the restructuring of their debts last year.

On completion of its debt restructuring in March 2010, Alliance Bank had cut its debts to $1.08 billion from $4.5 billion.

Kazakhstan’s sovereign wealth fund Samruk-Kazyna provided cash to debt-laden local banks in return for sizeable packages of their stakes during the crisis.

The fund has repeatedly said that it wants to sell its shares in the nationalised BTA , Alliance and Temirbank .

Samruk-Kazyna now owns 67 percent of preferred and common shares in Alliance Bank. The bank’s former creditors and current shareholders hold the remaining 33 percent.

Alliance bank has said that it expects its net profit to grow by more than 2.5 times to 36.067 billion tenge ($246 million) this year from an earlier forecast of 14 billion.