Insurance company Eurosig has further increased its participation in the United Bank of Albania, buying another 4.3% of the bank’s shares from Bahraini Ithmaar Bank.
The stock package was purchased for a price of 405 thousand US dollars or 0.67% of their nominal value.
With the purchase of this new package of shares, the share owned by UBA reaches 55% of the share capital. However, Eurosig has not yet been able to exercise the decision-making majority in UBA, because the Bank of Albania until July of this year had not approved the previous and most important increase of Eurosig’s percentage in UBA.
In August 2021, Eurosig registered with the National Business Center the share sale contract, through which the company bought another 30% of the shares in UBA from the main partner, the Islamic Development Bank, increasing the participation from 21.02% to 51.017%.
The Bank of Albania had not approved this transaction, given that Eurosig is not an experienced investor in the banking sector.
However, because the other main shareholder, the Islamic Development Bank, was no longer willing to invest capital into UBA, the Bank of Albania “surrendered”, paving the way for the sale.
In July of this year, the Supervisory Council of the Bank of Albania decided to give approval for this transaction, but on the condition that Eurosig contributes with liquidity to a capital increase of UBA in the amount of three million euros, by December 31, 2022.
The capital increase in question has not yet been registered in the NBC, but sources from the bank say that it is expected to be finalized within the deadline set by the Bank of Albania. The capital increase of three million euros is expected to further increase the participation of Eurosig, to over 70% of the total shares.
Taking control from Eurosig will also bring changes in the bank’s top management. The General Director, Amel Kovačevič, has left after approximately three years as the head of the bank. Orfea Dhuci, an Albanian banker with a long experience at Alpha Bank Albania, took over the management of UBA, first as Head of the Business Banking Unit and then as an economic advisor.
UBA is currently the smallest bank in the Albanian banking sector. Based on the data of the Albanian Association of Banks, at the end of the third quarter of the year, UBA owned about 0.7% of the banking market in Albania, for a total of assets of about 12.6 billion ALL.
However, the unaudited figures from the Albanian Association of Banks show that UBA this year is one of the banks that is recording the highest growth rates. At the end of September, the bank’s assets increased by 15.7%, the second highest increase within the banking sector, after Tirana Bank.