Bulgaria's anti-monopoly body said on Thursday it has given the green light to the sale of a 49.99% interest in Bulgarian-American Credit Bank.
Allied Irish Banks announced a month ago that it has signed an agreement to sell its 49.99% shareholding in Bulgarian-American Credit Bank AD to Clever Synergies Investment Fund (CSIF).
The deal price was not disclosed.
The deal brought back into the banking sector Bulgarian tycoon Tsvetelina Borislavova, more publicly known as the woman with whom Prime Minister Boyko Borisov formerly lived out of wedlock. The sizable purchased was acquired through her company Clever Synergies Investment Fund (CSIF).
The finalization of the deal is conditional on the approval of Bulgaria's central bank BNB.
BACB is a publicly listed bank based in Sofia, Bulgaria, focused on small to medium sized enterprises. As at 31 December 2010, BACB reported consolidated total assets of ?375.9 million and shareholders' equity of ?96.6 million.
CSIF is a private investment company founded in 2005; its shareholders are Tsvetelina Borislavova and her foundation Credo Bonum.
In December 2010, Tsvetelina Borislavova, believed to be one of the richest Bulgarians, and described in various rankings as one of the most powerful Bulgarian women, formally left the banking sector as the Belgian banking group KBC acquired full control over its subsidiary in Bulgaria CIBank.
Back then the prime minister's long-time live-in girlfriend Tsvetelina Borislavova sold her last 16% stake. The price of the deal exceeds BGN 141 M or BGN 110.49 per share.
KBC agreed to buy 75% in the bank, initially called EIBank, for EUR 295 M in September 2007 and secured the approval of both the central bank and competition authorities at the end of the year.
The group bought half the stake of board chairwoman Tsvetelina Borislavova and the full stake held by Novator investment fund, which manages the Bulgarian assets of Icelandic mogul Thor Bjorgolfsson.
That was the second major acquisition by the Belgian group in Bulgaria, having agreed earlier that year to buy 70% in insurer DZI, later boosting its stake to 85%.
Initially, Borislavova kept 22.3% of her shares and became "KBC's partner", keeping her position as chair of the supervisory board.
Subsequently KBC launched a buyout offer to the minority shareholders in the bank and gradually increased its capital.
Bulgaria's Economic and Investment Bank (EIBank) changed its name to CIBank in October 2008 without giving reasons for its decision.
The name of the Bulgarian-American Credit Bank recently was in the center of scandalous allegations after German investigative journalist Jurgen Roth alleged that BNB Governor Ivan Iskrov put pressure on the Irish bank, Allied Irish Bank (AIB), owner of the Bulgarian-American Credit Bank (BACB) in Sofia, to sell a 50% stake to Central Cooperative Bank at the price of BGN 1, the equivalent of EUR 0.5. Subsequently, Roth renounced his accusations.