EEMEA round up: Kazakhstan: bank M&A on the rise
Foreign banks continue to eye expansion opportunities in Kazakhstan, despite the cloudier outlook for the central Asian republic’s financial sector. South Korea’s Kookmin Bank is in talks with Bank CenterCredit, the sixth-largest Kazakh bank, with a view to taking at least a 30% stake. UniCredit is looking to finalize its $2.2 billion purchase of ATF Bank, Kazakhstan’s number four player. But the Italian bank has become embroiled in a legal dispute with US hedge fund QVT Financial, which has accused it of abusing minority investors’ rights. Finally, a Russian investment bank is reported to have built a 10% to 15% stake in the country’s largest bank, Kazkommertsbank, on behalf of an unknown party, prompting further takeover speculation.