Promotion of foreign investment, innovative digital banking and high standards of corporate governance
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) are promoting increased private-sector participation in Uzbekistan's banking sector by acquiring stakes in TBC Bank Uzbekistan (TBC UZ), a subsidiary of TBC Bank Group, the largest banking group in Georgia and listed on the London Stock Exchange. The investment is aimed at strengthening digital finance in Uzbekistan, and thereby boosting financial inclusion in the country.
The two institutional investors – IFC and EBRD – are planning to acquire stakes of up to 20 per cent each in TBC UZ. The investments will support the continued operational growth of this newly established private market player and promote international standards of corporate governance in the sector. The first subscription will be US$ 9.4 million for each of the two investors, with an intention to support future capital increases during 2022-2024 years.
TBC UZ, the first digital bank in Uzbekistan, was launched in October 2020 and has since grown rapidly. Today, it operates through two smart, next-generation branches and 34 "client liaison points" across 12 regional cities. TBC UZ provides innovative financial products and offers a first-class customer experience to more than 630,000 registered retail users. Expansion to the small business segment is envisaged for the near future.
Vakhtang Butskhrikidze, Chief Executive Officer of TBC Bank, commented: "We have a long history of successful cooperation with IFC and EBRD, which have firmly stood by our side for two decades. I am extremely grateful to EBRD and IFC for embarking on this exciting next stage of our journey with us. This joint venture arrangement marks another important milestone for our Uzbek expansion, allowing us to accelerate our growth in the country and offer a wide range of innovative and affordable products to the Uzbek population. TBC UZ successfully operates based on our innovative fintech platform Space, which offers retail banking solutions through the mobile app."
Wiebke Schloemer, IFC Director for Europe and Central Asia, said: "We are further deepening our partnership with TBC Bank Group. IFC is supporting TBC's efforts in expanding banking services, based on innovative and technological solutions, across Uzbekistan. This investment is also well-aligned with our strategy to help Uzbekistan promote greater market competitiveness through increasing the share of private sector participation in the banking industry."
Alkis Drakinos, EBRD Director, Head of Uzbekistan, said: "This is the first equity investment in the Uzbek banking sector since the Bank's re-engagement with the country in 2017. TBC has been our longstanding and trusted partner for a few decades now. We are happy to support its expansion in Uzbekistan, thus increasing the percentage of private capital in the local banking sector. We welcome competition and expect it to benefit everyone."
TBC Bank Group is a public limited company listed on the London Stock Exchange - a holding company of JSC TBC Bank and a group of companies that principally operate in Georgia in the financial sector and other closely related fields. Together with its subsidiaries, TBC is a leading universal banking group in Georgia, with a total market share of 38.1% of customer loans and 37.8% of customer deposits. As a technology-driven company with the mission to make people's lives easier, TBC holds dominant positions in all major business lines comprised of retail, corporate and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME). The company's financial services include traditional banking offerings as well as the industry's cutting-edge solutions. In 2020, TBC PLC expanded its operations in Uzbekistan serving customers through its innovative fintech platform Space, offering retail banking solutions through the mobile app.
For more information: https://www.tbcbankgroup.com
IFC—a member of the World Bank Group—is the largest global development institution focused on the private sector in emerging markets. We work in more than 100 countries, using our capital, expertise, and influence to create markets and opportunities in developing countries. In fiscal year 2021, IFC committed a record $31.5 billion to private companies and financial institutions in developing countries, leveraging the power of the private sector to end extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity as economies grapple with the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
The EBRD is a multilateral bank that promotes the development of the private sector and entrepreneurial initiative in 38 economies across three continents. The Bank is owned by 69 countries as well as the EU and the EIB. EBRD investments are aimed at making the economies in its regions competitive, inclusive, well-governed, green, resilient and integrated. To date, the EBRD has invested almost €2.6 billion in 101 projects in Uzbekistan.
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