RIGA - Bankas Snoras announced this week that it is in negotiations with two Latvian banks on a purchase of a controlling interest.
Raimundas Baranauskas, president of the Lithuanian bank, refused to divulge the names, adding only that the purchase is planned for the second half of the year. "We are in talks with two of Latvia's banks on the purchase of a controlling stake. It is possible that we could have a Latvian bank under our ownership by the end of the year if we agree and buy the controlling stake," he said.
He said Bankas Snoras, which was purchased by a smaller Russian bank in 2003, is interested in a bank having a network of outlets. "I can say that we are not interested in the last banks, which are small and have no own network," he said.
Baranauskas said the bank's goal was to begin providing services in Latvia this year, either by buying a controlling stake in another institution or opening a branch. The acquisition-route would be faster and better, he explained, since the purchased bank would have its own client base.
Baranauskas said Snoras also plans to open a representation in Estonia in the near future 's in August or by the end of the summer, but it would not be transformed into a branch for the time being. "I believe that for the time being Latvia's market is more interesting 's there are things to do here," he said.
He said Bankas Snoras was not afraid of honest competition since several banks operating in Latvia are in Lithuania, so their style is familiar. He said the bank would specialize in leasing.
Bankas Snoras opened its representation in Riga on July 15.