Deputy Finance Minister Yurii Drahanchuk informed Ukrainska Pravda that foreign investors have shown interest in acquiring two Ukrainian state-owned banks, Ukrgasbank and Sense Bank.
Both banks ranked among the top 10 most profitable banks in Ukraine in 2023. Ukrgasbank, established in 1993, is a prominent commercial bank in Ukraine. In the summer of 2023, Sense Bank, a Ukrainian branch of Alfa-Bank, owned by Russian oligarch Mikhail Fridman, was nationalized due to the owner being placed under sanctions. “We are actively preparing them for sale. We received these signals at the end of last year, starting in the fall,” Drahanchuk said.
The potential investors are encouraging Ukraine to finalize the deal soon, and the banks themselves are preparing for the purchase, Drahanchuk said. At the same time, the Finance Ministry and the World Bank are working on legal amendments to make the sale as transparent as possible.
Drahanchuk added that Ukraine wants to sell the Ukrgasbank & Sense banks
As per the deputy minister’s statement, the state has devised a plan to decrease its involvement in the banking sector. However, the country’s largest bank, PrivatBank, which generates $1 billion of state budget revenue, is not yet prepared for sale. The decision of lower courts was overturned by Ukraine’s Sixth Administrative Court of Appeal in November, affirming the legality of PrivatBank’s nationalization and stating that its former owners cannot regain control. The decision finally resolved the case, which has been ongoing since 2017. In 2016, Ukraine’s National Bank declared PrivatBank insolvent due to significant capital losses. As a result, the bank was nationalized.
ABH Holdings S.A. (ABHH) banking group, with Mikhail Fridman as its main shareholder, announced in January 2024 that it has initiated an arbitration request and filed a claim of over $1 billion against Ukraine. This action is in response to the nationalization of Sense Bank.