The International Bank of Azerbaijan is planning to closes branches in Georgia and Russia throughout 2017 as part of a plan to restructure over $3.3 billion in debts.
The bank made this announcement on Tuesday in a 24-page ”
prepared for more than a dozen international banks and debtors, to whom the majority of its dues must come through within the next two years.
The state-owned International Bank of Azerbaijan was established in the early 1990s as a Joint Stock Commercial Bank with 50.2% State ownership and 49.8% private ownership. The ownership remained unchanged up until 2015.
The bank has been severely hit by the decrease in world oil prices since
. The economic crisis of the last few years forced the Azerbaijani national currency, the manat, to plummet by more than 50%.
The bank has already tried to recover from the crisis – the government spent 9.93 billion manat ($5.9 billion) on buying its toxic assets, while also placing more than $1.3 billion on deposit to provide liquidity,
On Tuesday, the bank offered creditors to swap $3.3 billion of its foreign-currency debt for new sovereign bonds. Creditors did not accept the proposal.
“Creditors are very angry… This proposal shows the unwillingness to pay of the sovereign while at the same time having the full ability to pay. This will make funding long term costlier to Azerbaijan”, Lutz Roehmeyer, one of the creditors, was quoted by
In order to pass, the restructuring plan will have to be approved by two-thirds of affected creditors by value, the
“We would like this restructuring plan approved as soon as possible, otherwise the regulator could resort to options that include temporary administration, a transfer of assets and license revocation”, said Rufat Aslani, head of Azerbaijan’s Financial Markets Supervisory Authority.
According to the Financial Times, the rating agency Moody’s has started the a review “for a possible downgrade of Azerbaijan’s Ba1 long-term rating, expecting that Baku would be forced to provide additional funding to the bank”.