Montenegro: Existing shareholders not interested in recapitalizing Atlas Banka

The existing shareholders of the troubled Atlas Banka are not interested in the recapitalization of the lender with none of them subscribing to any of the 88,710 ordinary shares offered as part of the plan for recapitalization, the Central Bank of Montenegro (CBCG) said in a statement. The CBCG said that the temporary administrator of the bank will inform the Capital Market Commission about the failure of the initial recapitalization plan. The temporary administrator will then request the commission to approve a public offering of Atlas Banka shares to investors, who are not shareholders in the bank. We note that the temporary administration of the bank invited earlier in January shareholders with pre-emption rights to subscribe for EUR 22mn capital hike to save the lender and ensure its normal operation.

Atlas Banka’s majority owner Dusko Knezevic earlier expressed interest in the recapitalization of the lender but cannot currently return to Montenegro due to the national arrest warrant issued by the Montenegrin authorities. We note that the central bank took provisional management over Atlas Banka and another local lender Invest Banka in December to protect the interests of depositors and prevent further deterioration of the financial situation in those banks. The CBCG later determined that Atlas Banka could be recapitalized and saved, while Invest Banka was declared bankrupt. The two banks are locally-owned and their market share is just over 6%.


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