VILNIUS - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Develop-ment may become a shareholder of Siauliu Bankas, the business daily Verslo Zinios reported on Jan. 3. The EBRD is expected to decide on the deal in late January, according to the report.
The EBRD would most probably take a stake of up to 20 percent in Siauliu Bankas, a regional bank that focuses on financing small and medium-sized business and that is owned by a number of corporate and private investors.
Currently the bank ranks seventh or eighth in terms of assets among Lithuania's commercial banks.
Donatas Savickas, the bank's vice chairman, confirmed that the bank is currently in talks with several potential financial investors, including the EBRD.
"We can neither confirm nor deny this until an agreement has been reached," he was quoted as saying.
If a deal is reached, Siauliu Bankas' shareholders could vote on a new share issue in March during a scheduled general meeting. Bank officials have said that the bank needs to raise additional capital to finance growth plans.
The bank, which is based in Siauliai, recently completed a new share issue worth 3.25 million litas (900,000 euros), increasing its stock capital to 56 million litas.
The bank was targeting net earnings of 6.5 million litas for 2004, up from net earnings of 4.2 million litas in 2003.