(Adds Kazkommertsbank comment, context)
ALMATY, Dec 26 (Reuters) - Kazakhstan’s central bank has extended a $1.2 billion short-term loan to Kazkommertsbank, the Central Asian nation’s biggest lender by assets, to support its liquidity, the central bank said on Monday. Half of the amount has already been repaid.
The central bank said Kazkommertsbank complied with all regulatory requirements and was processing payments normally. It also said it was in talks with Kazkommertsbank’s shareholders about boosting the lender’s capital.
Last month, sources close to another Kazakh lender, Halyk Bank, told Reuters it was talks with Kazkommertsbank about a potential merger which could involve the write-down of Kazkommertsbank’s bad assets and help from the state.
Kazkommertsbank said in a separate statement on Monday it had drawn liquidity support ahead of an anticipated increase in pre-holiday payments. Kazkommertsbank said it was not in talks with the central bank about any “bailout programme”.
Half of KKB’s assets are tied up in a single loan to BTA, a former bank that is now a distressed asset management company. BTA owes KKB about $7.5 billion and has so far missed no repayments on that debt, but the outlook for future payments is uncertain, ratings agency Standard & Poor’s has said. (Reporting by Olzhas Auyezov; Editing by Richard Pullin)