BULGARIA: KBC completes acquisition of UBB and INTERLEASE

Belgian KBC Group anounced it has completed the acquisition of United Bulgarian Bank (UBB) and the leasing company INTERLEASE from the National Bank of Greece (NBG) for a total consideration of EUR 610 million.

"The acquisition - which was announced on 30 December 2016 - was approved by the relevant regulatory authorities and received anti-trust approval", KBC representatives pointed out in a press release.

"Following this acquisition, KBC will also become active in leasing, asset management and factoring in Bulgaria, offering its clients now a full range of financial services. The operational integration of the business entities will be gradually introduced in the coming months", KBC said in the statement.

KBC has been present in the Bulgarian banking sector since 2007 through its subsidiary CIBANK. The combination of UBB - Bulgaria's fourth largest banking group by total assets - , and CIBANK will result in the creation of one of the largest banking group in Bulgaria.

UBB's supervisory and management board will be led by Peter ANDRONOV, current KBC country manager for Bulgaria and CEO of CIBANK.

KBC has also been present in the Bulgarian insurance sector through its subsidiary DZI Insurance, active in both life and non-life insurance.

Together, UBB-CIBANK and DZI will become the largest bank-insurance group in Bulgaria, one of KBC's core markets in the CEE Region.

"I am very pleased with our acquisition. Today, 10 years after our group set its first steps in Bulgaria, we take a quantum leap in the country. In this core market we now also have become a strong market player, who will be able to put its mark on all the different businesses it is active in: banking, insurance, asset management, leasing et cetera. Our commitment to Bulgaria is a long-term proposition which is reflected in our strategy to be among the market leaders - like in all other core markets of KBC. Expanding our activities in the country, building on the competence and dynamism of UBB and CIBANK, and leveraging our joint product and service offering will help us reaching this goal and ensure future success", said Johan THIJS, KBC Group CEO.

Luc Popelier, CEO of KBC Group's International Markets Business Unit added: "This transaction substantially strengthens KBC's position in Bulgaria and is a fine example of KBC's strategic approach on its core markets. We are convinced that both the clients of UBB and CIBANK and the Bulgarian economy as a whole will benefit from the joint forces of these two strong brands."

"The joint forces of CIBANK, UBB, DZI and the other Bulgarian entities  supported by KBC Group, ensure our Bulgarian clients of high quality banking,  insurance and other financial services up to the standards and level they deserve. This new combined financial group will substantially solidify and strengthen our current position on the Bulgarian market and play a major role in supporting our local economy. I look forward to collaborating with my new management and staff members and am convinced that, together, we will become the  reference for all our clients", said Peter ANDRONOV, CEO of CIBANK, and Country Manager Bulgaria.

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