AIB sells €216m bank stake for €100k

AIB HAS sold its near-50% stake in a Bulgarian bank, which cost €216 million just three years ago, for a mere €100,000.

Confirmation of the Sofia-based Bulgarian-American Credit Bank’s (BACB) sale to an investment firm led by Tsvetelina Borislavova was made on Bulgaria’s stock exchange yesterday.

Ms Borislavova is the girlfriend of the Balkan country’s prime minister, Boyko Borisov.

Under the deal, the businesswoman’s Clever Synergies Investment Fund (CSIF) has taken over AIB’s shares in the firm and significant debt accrued in the period since the Irish company made the expensive purchase.

The Bulgarian bank is due to repay €25m of a €75m loan to AIB next month, as well as paying out on €35m worth of bonds to other investors.

Ms Borislavova confirmed the move in a statement to both the Bulgarian Stock Exchange and the Financial Supervision Commission.

She added that the announcement came after AIB sold its stake to her investment firm in a pre-arranged deal on June 17.

AIB said last night it has already taken account of the loss and the move will not affect its future accounts. It had been long mooted that its Bulgarian asset would not prove to be a major source of additional funding.

Last month, AIB said it had signed an agreement to sell its shareholding in BACB “for an undisclosed amount” to CSIF, pending regulatory approval.

BACB is a publicly quoted bank in Bulgaria, which is largely focused on the country’s small and medium-sized enterprise community.

As of the end of last year, the company had reported consolidated total assets of just under €376m.

Meanwhile, the courts will tomorrow consider if AIB will have to make a junior debt coupon payment — due before the end of this month.

The New York-based investment firm, Aurelius Capital Management, is challenging an order altering the terms of some of AIB’s junior securities.

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