Cyprus Mail

EBRD expected to get voting rights in BoC

An 18 per cent stake held by the now defunct Laiki Bank in Bank of Cyprus (BoC) could be transferred to the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), reports said.

According to Cyprus News Agency (CNA) sources, the Resolution Authority in Cyprus (Central Bank, Finance Ministry, Securities and Exchange Commission), which administers the percentage held by Laiki in the share capital of the BoC, could transfer its voting rights to EBRD.

Citing its sources, CNA said EBRD could function as investment banker to manage the percentage of Laiki, but also as a strategic investor for the purchase of this share, or it could buy new shares issued by the BoC, should the lender decide to increase its share capital.

At the same time, it is thought that an investment from EBRD would boost confidence in BoC and bring expertise to the bank.

The matter is expected to be discussed this week during a visit by Finance Minister Harris Georgiades at the EBRD’s headquarters in Warsaw.

The EBRD scenario seems to present itself as an alternative to the sale of shares to hedge funds to secure liquidity, although the latter seems to have the backing of the Troika of international lenders

Cyprus has agreed on a €10 billion bailout which provided for Laiki to be shut down and seize, or bail-in, deposits over €100,000 to recapitalize BoC.

Parts of Laiki have been absorbed by BoC.

According to the deal, the Resolution Authority will instruct Laiki’s administrator to entrust by end-January 2014, the voting rights of these shares to a well-recognised and independent consulting or auditing firm or an international institution.

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