|Standard Bank with the Strength of KOR Bank and Dhabi Group Opens New Branches|
30/03/2008 22:25 (2075 Day 16:46 minutes ago)
The FINANCIAL -- Standard Bank has officially opened a new branch at 24a Pekini Ave. The latter is the 20th branch operated by the bank in Tbilisi . By the end of this month, the next unit will be opened in the Didi Dighomi district.
“The Pekini branch will be offering the full range of bank operations, a free of charge billing centre service amongst others,” Standard Bank representatives said.
The opening ceremony held on March 24 was attended by the new owners of Standard Bank.
KOR Bank formally took over Standard Bank on March 17, 2008. KOR Bank is backed by the strength of Dhabi Group - one of the largest international UAE based investment groups actively participating in various investment activities in countries of the Middle East, CIS States, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran, Afghanistan, Uganda, and the Republic of Congo. The market value of the Consortium portfolio can easily be stated to be in excess of USD 10 billion.
“Opening this branch is a message by Standard Bank, that now we are a bank with a lot more strength and are even more focused on the banking sector in Georgia,” Imran khazir Hayat, General Director of Standard Bank, told The FINANCIAL.
According to Hayat, the main advantage the bank has now is that Standard bank is a bank with the strength of KOR Bank and ultimately the strength of Dhabi Group behind it. Standard Bank is not afraid of the competition as the bank is fully capable of meeting the demand of the local market.
“We intend to make Standard Bank a much stronger and rapidly growing institution with a complete focus on improved customer service, innovative products and an increase in the branch network. We assure you that with your support, efforts of our team and backing of our group, we intend to make Standard Bank the top ranking bank in Georgia,” the new owners of Standard Bank declared.
In Hayat’s words, Standard Bank was only offering very good products if you compare this banking market with a department of loans. Now is the time to really focus on the products and let people know what kind of benefits they have. Standard Bank will try to actually improve these products with little more changes to become more customer friendly. Moreover, the bank intends to launch some new products,” Hayat told The FINANCIAL.
“Standard Bank has a really good network of branches. We’re happy to be signing the acquisition of the bank in which Dhabi Group has invested GEL 70 million. As the group already has an operation license for KOR Bank, and after negotiations with National Bank of Georgia , we’ll acquire Standard Bank by KOR Bank,” Bashir Ahmed Tahir, CEO of Dhabi Group UAE, told The FINANCIAL earlier.
According to Bashir A. Tahir, the group’s aim is to run business in four directions in Georgia: banking, telecommunications, WIMAX and real estate sectors.
“We’re good corporate citizens in any country the group operates in worldwide,” noted CEO of Dhabi Group .
On March 25, Dhabi Group made its 3rd major investment in Georgia. The company purchased 80% of the Kempinski Hotel Tbilisi from Capital Vostok, the investment group which drew up the initial project.
Kempinski Hotel Tbilisi will be located in the centre of the city, on Rustaveli Avenue. The partner of the venture in Georgia is Capital Vostok, the investment group which drew up the initial project. Though the initial basic line of the project remains the same, deadline and construction timelines will be re-evaluated.
Estimated cost of the project is USD 110 million.
Dhabi Group investment share is close to USD 150 million, Gia Seturidze, company representative in Georgia told The FINANCIAL.
This is the 3rd major investment in Georgia conducted by Dhabi Group following Warid Telecom obtaining KOR Bank license and the recent acquisition of Standard Bank.
JSC KOR Bank Georgia received its operations license from National Bank of Georgia in January 25 2008. 22 commercial banks are licensed by National Bank of Georgia . Among the newly registered organizations are: British HSBC Bank, Progress Bank founded by football star Kakhi Kaladze and Halyk Bank Georgia, Kazakh group.
“The first branch of KOR bank should be operational in several months. USD 10 million has been paid as a capital requirement for this banking license,” group representative said.
“KOR Bank will focus on consumer and investment banking, as well as on asset management and insurance,” Bashir Ahmed Tahir said.
Another sphere of investment is in the telecommunications market under the company name
According to the plans of Dhabi Group Georgia, Warid Telecom, Georgia wireless internet and enhanced telephony services will cover the whole territory of Georgia by the end of the current year.
The company is not excluding the possibility of expanding to the mobile communications market.
“Another activity of the company will be the hotel construction business. Representatives of the group are currently holding negotiations with Capital Vostok, Investment Company for acquiring Kempinsky Hotel which is under construction, located at 29 Rustaveli Ave. The budget of the project is intended to reach USD 200 million and will be spent over three years. The group will also announce a tender for selecting a new construction company instead of Aword Ltd, which has been building the complex since 2007.
The activities of Dhabi Group will not be limited to the sectors mentioned above, therefore the search for potentially viable projects will continue,” company representatives said.
Dhabi Group has been investing in the Middle East and the countries of Asia and Africa for 40 years. The group currently owns interest in several banks, insurance companies and telecommunications business. The value of the whole portfolio of the group is above USD 10 billion. As well as investing in the Georgian market, Abu Dhabi Group is seeking the possibility of investing in Ukrainian and Azeri markets.