The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has increased its stake in Moldova’s Victoriabank from 15% to 27.5%.

EBRD acquired the 12.5% stake in Victoriabank from Alpha Bank Romania for a total of EUR6m, at EUR1.92 per share.

In August 1995, EBRD and the bank’s founders invested in Victoriabank to support a locally owned commercial bank with effective corporate governance. However, the control of the bank’s supervisory board passed to non-transparent shareholders in June 2006.

The Moldovan lender’s supervisory board was suspended by a court order in September 2014, following which the bank has been running without effective corporate governance.

A new board voted in 2015 extraordinary shareholder meeting initiated by the EBRD is currently non-functional as three elected board members have not submitted the required documentation for approval by the National Bank.

EBRD director of financial institutions for the Western Balkans, Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine Henry Russell said: "We are pleased to announce that the EBRD has now consolidated a 27.5 per cent stake in Victoriabank in a special purpose vehicle, VB Investment Holding, located outside Moldova, owned and controlled by the EBRD.

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"The transaction, which required the reversal of recently adopted prohibitive legislation, is an important step that underlines how crucial it is to preserve Victoriabank as an independent, commercially-oriented and profitable institution with transparent ownership that benefits the Moldovan economy."