Kazakhstan is going to send money it earned from selling Bereke Bank to the state budget, not the National Fund

Business news correspondent
All $146.3 million the government received from selling Bereke Bank will be sent to the state budget / Collage by Kursiv.media (Askar Akhmetullin and Shutterstock), photo editor: Denis Andreev

All the money the government of Kazakhstan gained from Lesha Bank, an investment bank from Qatar that acquired Bereke Bank, will be sent to the state budget, according to Baiterek Holding. At the same time, the law on state property says that the funds should be sent to the National Fund.

«If the deal is successfully closed, all the money will be sent to the state budget,» Baiterek said in a response to Kursiv’s inquiry.

On May 20, 2024, Lesha Bank announced that the deal with the acquisition of Bereke Bank was closed. This announcement was published on the Qatar Stock Exchange (QSE) website. Lesha has purchased Bereke for $146.3 million, which is just 39.8% of its own capital ($366.9 million as of April 1, 2024).

However, Baiterek said that the deal is going to be closed after all necessary procedures, including payment for Bereke Bank shares, are done. Lesha has not paid yet. Therefore, the two sides are still taking some measures to close the deal. Once this work is over, all the information about the deal will be published on the Kazakhstan Stock Exchange website (KASE).

According to the national holding, Lesha Bank was forced to announce the deal first due to local requirements. The investor itself reported that the deal was closed back on March 31.

As Baiterek reported, the last evaluation of Bereke Bank by an independent company took place on June 30, 2023.

The context. In April 2022, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) under the U.S. Department of the Treasury added Bereke Bank (at the time Sberbank Kazakhstan) to its sanction list (OFAC List). As a result, the bank was cut off from the Visa and Mastercard payment systems, which led to a massive exodus of clients, closure of corresponding accounts in foreign exchange and longer periods for performance of banking payments and money transfers. On March 8, 2023, Bereke Bank was removed from the sanction list.

Baiterek Holding, controlled by the government of Kazakhstan, bought out the bank in September 2022. After that deal, the new parent company and affiliated firms opened their deposits in Bereke Bank in order to support the bank’s liquidity.

In mid-February 2024, Lesha Bank signed a preliminary agreement with Baiterek Holding about the potential acquisition of Bereke Bank.

After this news came out, Fitch Ratings said that it would lower Bereke Banks’ rating from ‘BB’ if it is sold to an investor from Qatar because in this case, Bereke won’t be able to rely on support from the government of Kazakhstan (Baiterek Holding). At the time, analysts of Fitch Ratings said that the deal would happen within six months.

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