The FINANCIAL -- Kala Capital, the implementer of Arsenal, Progress Bank and Kala energy projects, continues working with new management. Steward Murdoch, with 15 years of work experience in Britain’s top investment banks - JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, Barclays Capital and ABN AMRO, is the new Chairman of Progress Bank’s Supervisory Board, having replaced Zurab Noghaideli, the former Georgian PM.
“Though Georgia’s economy is not having the best times we’re committed to doing our best in the local banking sector. Our works will be focused on creating diversified concern. At the beginning of our work we will be oriented at the corporate sector,” claimed Murdoch during a meeting held at Sheraton Metechi Palace on October 11. “From the beginning we won’t be the heavy loaner bank and for future perspectives we plan to become a universal bank.”
Mr. Murdoch served as Managing Director of Kala Capital. Prior to joining Kala Capital, he worked in top tier investment banks for the duration of his corporate career, including JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs and Barclays Capital. He has 15 years of experience creating and running trading divisions that focused on foreign exchange, interest rate and fixed income markets. In March 2007, he left, as head of Emerging Markets at ABN Amro Bank where he had also focused on debt origination and leveraged finance, to set up an Investment Advisory business and in the process co-founded TIVIT Capital - a multistrategy Hedge Fund, based in London.
Mr. Murdoch holds a BA (Hons) in Politics and Philosophy from Exeter University.
“I’ve met with local businessmen and banking sector representatives and I would say Georgia has a rather healthy competitive market. Though there are 21 banks in Georgia and because of the current problems not all of them will be able to survive,” said Murdoch.
In his words, Progress Bank will have a thorough look at the local banking sector and doesn’t exclude the opportunity of acquiring one of the Georgian banks.
“Progress Bank opening, which was scheduled in October, is postponed and will be held in November,” stated Murdoch.
“I can’t say whether Mr. Aleksishvili will remain in the bank’s management as from now own such issues are to be taken care of by Mr.Murdoch,” said Kakha Kaladze, the founder of Kala Capital, AC Milan Defender.
Former Chairman of the Supervisory Board, Mr. Nogaideli previously served as Prime Minister of Georgia from 2005 through 2007. The latest World Bank/International Finance Corporation report “Doing Business 2008” ranked Georgia 18th out of 178 countries in terms of ease of doing business.
Nogaideli criticized the economic policy of the Georgian government recently. He said that sixty five to seventy thousand people working in the real estate sector will lose their jobs. Soon after this statement he made another public announcement on launching an oppositional movement.
On April 19 Nogaideli underwent heart surgery at a clinic in Houston, in the United States.
On November 16 2007 Nogaideli resigned due to health reasons. Noghaideli is married and has one child.
Aleksi Aleksishvili, Chief Executive Officer, has significant experience in the managerial field, gained through occupying top positions in both governmental and private sectors. Prior to Progress Bank, he served as a Member of the Board for National Bank of Georgia (NBG). Before joining NBG, he lead the Ministry of Finance of Georgia. Prior to becoming Minister of Finance, Mr. Aleksishvili served as Minister of Economic Development of Georgia.
Kala Capital Energy is focusing on Georgia’s increasing demand for energy, while addressing solutions for the country’s long-term energy needs. Kala Capital Energy provides construction, modernization and rehabilitation services of hydro power plants.
“We had to pay USD 39 million in Arsenal project, out of which USD 20 million is already paid while the other USD 19 million is an issue for negotiation with the government as we’re not making the deadline.
Kaladze becomes the Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Arsenal.
Kala Capital’s main development is Arsenal City - a billion dollar, master planned community on 78 hectares that was once the site of a Soviet military camp. Located in the centre of Tbilisi, this “city within a city” will feature high-end residential, retail and commercial space, including 60,000 square meters of space for government offices, a five-star hotel and convention facilities, schools, a state-of-the-art hospital, along with cultural and entertainment facilities. More than 20,000 people are expected to reside full-time in Arsenal City and more than 50,000 will commute daily to the area. Arsenal City is the largest real estate development project underway in Georgia. It is expected to raise the GDP of Georgia by 1%.
Written By Madona Gasanova