Oman Fund Working With Bulgaria To Solve Corpbank Problem

Corpbank, in which Oman’s SGRF is the second-biggest shareholder with a stake of about 30 per cent, was hit by a run on deposits in June.

Oman’s biggest sovereign wealth fund, the State General Reserve Fund (SGRF), is working with the Bulgarian government to try to resolve problems at Corporate Commercial Bank (Corpbank), the SGRF’s chairman said on Wednesday.

Corpbank, in which the SGRF is the second-biggest shareholder with a stake of about 30 percent, was hit by a run on deposits in June, prompting the Bulgarian central bank to seize control and shut down its operations, pending the outcome of an audit due to completed next month.

SGRF Chairman Darwish Al Balushi, who is also Oman’s minister for financial affairs, did not give details of any rescue plan for the Bulgarian bank in brief remarks to reporters.

“The bank itself doesn’t have any issues related to its financial status, its assets or its performance. It has to do with the government and the regulators in that country,” he said without elaborating.

Bulgaria’s central bank said on Wednesday it had received a letter from EPIC financial consultancy on behalf of the Omani fund and other undisclosed potential investors, asking for access to confidential data on Corpbank.

“The letter offers the signing of a contract for no-disclosure of information between EPIC, the government and the central bank, based on which EPIC can be granted access to information on Corpbank that is not public,” the central bank said in a statement late on Wednesday.

“The letter also offers holding talks with the government and the central bank aimed at preparing a plan for Corpbank’s restructuring which meets European Union rules on state aid,” the bank said.

Efforts to put together a rescue plan for Corpbank have become bogged down ahead of October elections, and analysts say no solution is likely before a new parliament is set up.

Last week the central bank said the two biggest shareholders in the bank had expressed intentions to submit rescue plans, but the lack of detailed offers “confirmed the undisputable fact that in this case there are no quick solutions”.