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Will Societe Generale Withdraw from Georgia?

Does Hualing Group Plan to Buy Billionaire Bank?

„I would take every my efforts, apply all leverages to maintain this major bank group in the Georgian market. The Government, the regulatory body should take maximum efforts in this case”, Bank Republic founder Lasha Papashvili noted.

In due time Lasha Papashvili concluded an agreement on entrance of Societe Generale in the Georgian market. This was one of the successful deals in Georgia that goes beyond the classification of pure business bargain and is rather perceived as a deal of state importance.

Societe Generale represents a certain visiting card for Georgia and it stresses Georgia’s investment attractiveness, it is a certain guarantee for potential investors, Lasha Papashvili noted.

“The bank’s withdrawal would be very bad fact for the country”, he added. Papashvili talks with only presumptions and hints. “There is no smoke without Fire”. The bank sector’s backstage, meanwhile, asserts that the French Group is about withdrawing from the country and its asset will be bought by major Hualing Group company of China.

Hualing Group has been already operating in the bank and real estate markets of Georgia. The Group is a Basisbank stakeholder. The bank has considerably increased the portfolio and it ranks among top eight leading commercial banks of Georgia in terms of assets.

The bank ranks third in terms of net profits (3.4 million GEL) as of March 2016, while Bank Republic is second in the same category. None of them confirms this available deal. Both managements of Bank Republic and Basisbank expressed astonishment around the scales of dissemination of this information.

Hualing Group denies any information, however they are not authorized to unveil similar information, anyway. This information astonished Basisbank founders too.

Zurab Tsikhistavi assures this is unreal information, but he could not explain motivation of disseminating similar information. There is no explanation to similar moves. Nor the main goal of these rumors could be outlined. However, the logics suggests that the bank sector may see the past decade’s major deal in Georgia.

We should just take a breath before real plans and intensions come to the surface to see how much will be paid for the most expensive bank assets, when emotions and astonishments will settle, when confusion disappear and both participants and spectators of this deal calm down.

© Caucasus Business Week