Armenia: Armeconombank looks to London for funding
Armeconombank is looking to chart new territory for Armenian banks with an international equity offering.
Davit Sukiasyan, AEB’s chairman and chief executive, confirmed to Euromoney that the bank would hold discussions with the London Stock Exchange among other exchanges about a possible initial public offering in 2008. Listed on the Armenian stock exchange since 2002, AEB is already the country’s leading stock by market capitalization and turnover.
AEB has established a record as a trailblazer in several fields, including ATM provision, credit card issuance, mortgage lending and corporate governance policies.
Key stakeholders include the country’s leading conglomerate, Sukiasyan Investment Group (SIL Group), which owns more than 50% of the bank and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, which has a 25% plus one share holding.
The bank has grown quickly in recent years and is now ranked fifth among Armenia’s 20 banks by assets, with about Dram44 billion ($124.4 million) at year-end 2006. Moody’s Investors Service recently assigned it B1 local-currency and foreign-currency deposit ratings and an E+ financial strength rating. The deposit ratings are two notches below the Ba2 sovereign ceiling the US agency assigned to the Caucasian republic in July 2006. Commenting on the FSR, Moody’s analyst Stathis Kyriakides says: "The rating... is based on its long-established domestic franchise, together with strong profitability and capital levels."