MINSK, Dec 21 (Reuters) - State-owned Belarussian lender Paritetbank on Thursday said it has asked Ukraine’s central bank to approve its bid to purchase the Ukrainian subsidiary of the Russia’s Sberbank.
The Russian lender put its Ukrainian unit up for sale in March after Kiev imposed sanctions on Sberbank and other Russian state banks operating in Ukraine in response to tensions over pro-Russian secessionists in eastern Ukraine.
“The management of Paritetbank highly value the potential of Sberbank ‘Ukraine’,” Paritetbank said in a statement.
Earlier this year Belarussian investor Viktor Prokopenya also applied to purchase the subsidiary, but withdrew his offer in August, saying it would be too time-consuming.
Paritetbank is the fifteenth-largest bank in terms of assets out of 25 lenders in Belarus.
As of March, five Russian state-owned banks were present in Ukraine with a combined market share of 8.6 percent and liabilities of 36 billion hryvnia ($1.3 billion). Sberbank, VEB and VTB are among the top 20 largest lenders.
Increased political tension and a flare-up in the eastern conflict at the start of 2017 prompted activists to protest against the continued presence of Russian banks in Ukraine. (Reporting by Andrei Makhovsky; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)