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Bloomberg TV Bulgaria: The International Bank for Economic Co-operation places its debut bond issue at the BSE

Denis Ivanov, Chairman of the Board of the International Bank for Economic Co-operation, Business Start, 02.09.2021

Author: Mikhail Mitev.

“The regulators and the authorities have given us great support and helped to successfully place the bond issue. We had a very fruitful dialogue with the Financial Supervision Commission and the Ministry of Finance. Amendments to the law have been entered into force, which made it possible for pension funds to participate in the subscription. Due to this fact, the Bulgarian market is attractive’, - this was shared by Denis Ivanov, Chairman of the Board of the International Bank for Economic Co-operation on the air of the show "Business Start" hosted by Hristo Nikolov.

According to the guest, their subscription base has expanded and representatives from all sectors have participated and subscribed for bonds issuance on the Bulgarian stock exchange – pension funds, credit institutions, asset managers.

"The main buyers were financial institutions, but the bonds were distributed equally. A large number of investors have signed up for bonds and we hope the bonds will be quite liquid."

For the International Bank for Economic Co-operation Bulgaria is the second market where it places bonds. Its first market was Russia, but according to the guest, the differences between the Bulgarian and Russian markets are quite significant.

"We have chosen the Bulgarian market because it has volume and very attractive for investors who are buying and holding the bonds. The fact that the Bulgarian currency is linked to the euro is important. It offers a natural hedge and there are no risks, so it doesn't matter if investments are in EUR or BGN.'

With the money raised, they plan to invest and reinvest in projects that they have already financed. The International Bank for Economic Co-operation has invested funds in the healthcare sector, infrastructure, energy sector and insurance. According to the guest, these are the key spheres for IBEC, and the funds that have been raised in Bulgaria, will be invested in the Bulgarian market.

"We have project portfolio in Bulgaria, and since 2018 we have invested over EUR 170 million in the Bulgarian economy. We have clients in different sectors who have also bought bonds from the last issue."

Bulgartransgaz is a strategic partner for IBEC. This is the company, that develops the Balkan Stream and helps build pipelines in Bulgaria to transport gas both inside the country and to the other countries of Southeastern Europe.

"Eurohold AD", according to the guest, is an example of the bank's support to the insurance industry.

"This is the largest private holding company in Bulgaria and we have helped them to increase their capital as well as to prepare it for the purchase of CEZ."

Regarding the pharmaceutical industry – IBEC has supported the company Doverie AD, part of Sopharma Holding.

The guest adds that the exposure to the Bulgarian economy at the moment exceeds EUR 110 million. Over the last three years, more than EUR 170 million was invested in Bulgarian projects, all of which, in his words, are extremely profitable.

Talking about non-performing loans, the guest states that there are none and all loans are serviced on time. And the volume of non-performing loans in all countries is below 2% of the total credit portfolio.

The pandemic has become for them an opportunity to show all their shareholders that they can play a significant role in the economies of IBEC member states. Despite the pandemic, their assets have grown significantly and exceeded EUR 800 million and loans volume has grown to EUR 350 million.

"We are pleased to announce that by the middle of this year our credit and documentary portfolio has exceeded EUR 500 million," he said. We managed to have continuity of operations, as well as expand them. Our bank has been actively working to support economies in overcoming the negative effects of the pandemic.”

The guest shared that they are planning an expansion and hope having more new clients this year, as well as successful projects. 

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