Fitch Ratings: Uzbekistan to sell three state banks

Correspondent for Business News department
Fitch Ratings: Узбекистан продаст три госбанка
According to Fitch Ratings, Uzbekistan is going to sell three state-owned banks / Photo: Shutterstock

The government of Uzbekistan is going to sell at least three state-owned banks, according to Frank Media, citing the March survey by Fitch Ratings. Once the deal is completed, the share of private banks in Uzbekistan will increase from 32% (as of late 2023) to 60%.

The strategic decision to sell shares in six Uzbekistani state-owned banks – Ipoteka-Bank, Uzpromstroybank (O’zsanoatqurilishbank), Asaka, AK Alokabank, Kishlok Qurilish Bank, and Turon Bank – was made in May 2020. After that, the Hungarian OTP Bank became the major stakeholder in Ipoteka-Bank, the fifth biggest bank in Uzbekistan.

The survey by Fitch says that the improvement of the banking sector of Uzbekistan will likely take time due to «deeply rooted structural problems and new risks.» According to the rating agency, the share of NPL in the sector was 10% in 2023. 

«We expect this rate to grow this year as banks continue to struggle with problems they’ve inherited,» the survey said.

In Kazakhstan, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev also wanted the country’s cabinet to attract three foreign banks last year. Currently, the state-owned Baiterek holding is negotiating with Lesha Bank, an investment bank from Qatar, about the purchasing of Bereke Bank. According to Madina Abylkassymova, head of the Agency for Regulation and Development of the Financial Market in Kazakhstan, there is also another foreign bank that is interested in acquiring a Kazakhstani bank. She hasn’t provided any details, though.

As of February 1, 2024, there were 21 commercial banks in Kazakhstan. Eleven of them have foreign shareholders as eight banks are actually subsidiaries of foreign banking groups like Home Credit Bank from Czechia and KZI Bank from Turkey.

Read also