The EBRD and Samruk-Kazyna, Kazakhstans state holding
company, plan to launch a joint $150 million fund next month to
restructure stricken corporates.
Olivier Descamps, the EBRDs managing director (Turkey,
eastern Europe, Caucasus and Central Asia), said that an
international fund management firm with restructuring
experience would manage the project.
Corporates are stuck in hangover
mode post-crisis. Banks will only lend to the best
clients, and some corporates are falling through the cracks. We
intend to address this problem, Descamps told
The plan is part of a joint approach under
which the EBRD intends to invest up to $1 billion agreed
in February with the Kazakh industry ministry and
Samruk-Kazyna, which uses the proceeds of Kazakhstans
sovereign wealth fund to invest in the local
Descamps said that corporate restructuring was one of four
things that could help to pump-prime Kazakhstans economic
A second factor was the general upward trend
this year, on the back of strong hydrocarbons prices. The
country was not out of the woods, but is going
forward, Descamps argued.
A third element was credit to small and medium-sized
businesses, which the EBRDs work on local currency
markets could influence. Some banks will need long-term
credit lines so that they can take long-term assets. It
would take time after Kazakhstans two largest banks had
been hit by an asset-liability bazooka, but had to
Finally, Descamps argued, was the banking sector
restructuring. Its failure had a great impact, he
said, but we must also recognise that the authorities did
a good job in dealing with the crisis. The question now
is, will the banking sector resume its core activity?
Dont just look at [restructured BTA and Alliance], look
at the others and what will be needed to get a
Alain Pilloux, the EBRDs managing director (industry,
commerce and agribusiness), said that the EBRDs
investments in Kazakhstan would focus on diversification, a
vital issue across the region.
Encouraging foreign direct investment is a key part of the
banks strategy, Pilloux said, pointing to the Russian
automotive sector in which Toyota, Volkswagen, Ford,
Peugeot, Mitsubishi and others have invested billions of
dollars as an example of success.
In Russia and other former Soviet countries, the EBRD
needs to encourage the growth of a mittelstand.
Asked if the banks strategy cuts across that of the
big Russian state-owned banks, which are used as an instrument
of industrial policy, Pilloux said: We are aware of the
weight of VTB and the other public-sector banks. We focus on
private sector banks but we work with the state banks,