RIGA - Latvia's Hansabanka will be receiving a three-year loan of 65 million euros
from a syndicate lead by Germany's HSH Nordbank, the largest ever syndicated
facility issued to a Baltic corporation, loan participants said.
The syndicated loan will be directed toward furthering the rapid growth of
Hansabanka, which credits Latvian businesses. Bank Chairmwoman Ingrida Bluma
told reporters that the issuing of such a large syndicate loan without the
guarantees of the Hansabank group, the Estonian holding company controlled
by Swedbank, proved the trust of foreign banks in Hansabanka, as well as the
Latvian economy as a whole.
"This is a very important event for the Latvian banking sector, as it
clearly shows that Latvia is a member of the European banking system, and
that Hansabanka and the state in general is shown trust on behalf of
European banks," said Bluma.
"Trust and security is the foundation for continuing fast development. I
believe that these financial resources are very needed for both financing
Latvian business development projects and for drawing European union
funding," she said.
Germany's HSH Nordbank Copenhagen branch representative, head of
institutional client services, Jens Lillelund Hurgensen, said that the
initial plan was to grant Hansabanka a 30 million euro syndicated loan, but
as Hansabanka had such a good name in Latvia an agreement was reached on
raising the credit amount.
"According to our information, this will be the largest syndicated loan
issued in the Baltic states," said Hurgensen.
Bluma said that the bank was in need of such a large financial injection
since the business sector in Latvia was developing fast and that the country
was expected to join the EU in 2004.
She also said that the Hansabanka consolidated credit portfolio increased 17
percent in the first half of this year to reach 533 million lats (840
million euros), adding that similar growth is expected for the rest of the
year and years to come.
Hansabanka finance department head and board member Tina Kuze said that she
expected the bank's total credit portfolio to gain 35 percent in 2003.
She said that the new syndicate loan should be used up by the end of the
year by Hansabanka and Hansa Lizings clients.
The syndicated loan will be the biggest any Latvian bank has ever received,
with the previous going to Parex Bank, which had received a syndicated loan
of 55 million euros.
Hansabanka is the third largest bank in Latvia in terms of assets.