Investor from Qatar acquires Bereke Bank for 40% of the bank’s capital 

How much the investor has paid for Bereke Bank /, photo editor: Denis Andreev

Lesha Bank, an investment bank from Qatar has closed the deal related to the acquisition of Bereke Bank, according to a statement published on the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) website. Even though as of April 1, the Kazakhstani bank had $367.2 million in its capital, the deal value was equal to just 39.8% of that sum.

Neither side officially reported the deal, although it was closed on March 31. Two weeks before that date, Madina Abylkassymova, chair of the Agency for Regulation and Development of the Financial Market of the Republic of Kazakhstan (ARDFM) revealed that negotiations between Lesha Bank and the Baiterek had reached their final stage.

Kazakhstani authorities reported their plan to sell Bereke Bank in mid-February. At the time, some media outlets reported that Lesha Bank was negotiating with Baiterek over the potential acquisition of a bank in its portfolio. Apart from Bereke Bank, the holding also controls Otbasy Bank (which specializes in mortgages) and the Development Bank of Kazakhstan (a development institute).

Fitch Ratings warned that Bereke Bank’s rating would lower if it was sold to Lesha Bank, citing that the bank wouldn’t be able to obtain any support from the country’s government after the deal.

Before the fall of 2022, Bereke Bank was part of Russian Sberbank and operated under this brand. After the U.S. imposed sanctions against the bank, it struggled with many obstacles and finally was sold to Baiterek. However, the holding’s executives immediately clarified that Baiterek wouldn’t be the ultimate owner of the bank and would seek an investor. In March 2023, the U.S. Department of the Treasury removed Bereke Bank from its sanction list allowing the bank to restore its corresponding accounts and all types of banking transactions.

Along with KZI Bank (a subsidiary of Turkish Ziraat Bakasi), Home Credit Bank (controlled by a group of investors from Czechia) and Al Hilal (part of Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank) Bereke Bank has become the fourth Kazakhstani bank purchased by foreign investors.

In September 2023, President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev said in his address to the nation that the country needs at least three more reliable foreign banks to boost the sector’s development. According to Abylkassymova, some other foreign investors have also shown interest in a Kazakhstani bank and another deal might happen by the end of this year.

Read also