Friday, March 11, 2016

Share of European countries in IIB nears 50% as Hungary pays in capital

The share of European's countries ownership of International Investment Bank (IIB) has almost reached 50% after its newest member Hungary paid in its share capital this month.

The government of Hungary transferred an additional €10mn to the paid-in capital of the IIB, having fulfilled all the obligations regarding its contribution as the bank's new member country, the bank said in a press release on March 10.

"As a result, Hungary increased its share to €40mn (12.78%), surpassing the Czech Republic and becoming IIB's third largest shareholder after the Russian Federation (47.92%) and the Republic of Bulgaria (13.48%)," the press release reads. "At the same time, the combined share of the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria – IIB's member countries within the European Union – in the Bank's capital reached 48.72%. Meanwhile, Cuba's share is at 1.71% and share of Asian members of the IIB (Vietnam and Mongolia) at 1.65%."

Set up in Soviet times to foster cooperation and trans-border investment amongst the Comecon countries, the bank has been remaking itself over the last three years as a modern International Financial Institution (IFI) and the transition programme officially came to an end at the close of 2015.

Headquartered in Moscow, five out of the nine shareholders are EU members, sharing majority of the votes in the IIB Council, and the Russian government owns a minority stake. The bank's IFI status means it was exempted from the financial sanctions imposed on Russia by the EU and US in 2014. And its government ownership means it has a triple A rating from the leading international ratings agencies.

Hungary's contribution increased the total amount of IIB's paid-in capital, which has doubled from €165mn since the end of 2012 to the current €313mn.

Chairman of the IIB Board, Nikolay Kosov, said: "While Russia has kept its status as the largest shareholder of our international development institution, the increase in the share of EU countries in the Bank's capital indicates a new level of partnership with our European colleagues. It is also a testimony to the demand for IIB's financial products and services within the EU and to the prospects for implementation of large-scale projects in the region, including multilateral projects with the participation of all member countries of the Bank."

Redistribution of shares in IIB's paid-in capital will continue contributing to its increasing balance and will give an additional boost to the diversification of the Bank's activities. In the past three years, around 50% (over €250mn) of IIB's investments were signed in the EU.

Nikolay Kosov also stressed, "The continued capitalisation of the IIB reflects the demand for the further enhancement of its role for the current member states as a modern multilateral development institution, which also remains open for admission of new members."

Since it was founded in 1970, IIB has invested in projects benefitting the economies of its member states and fostering economic cooperation between them. It focuses in particular on support for small and medium-sized enterprises, export-import financing and project finance. The Bank has undergone major modernisation since late 2012 and is rated Baa1 (outlook stable) by Moody's, BBB- (outlook stable) by Fitch and A (outlook stable) by Dagong.


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