Commerzbank raises its stake in Ukrainian lender

Commerzbank, Germany’s second-biggest lender, yesterday raised its stake in Bank Forum to almost 90 per cent, paving the way for a potential capital increase at the Ukrainian lender.

The transaction comes just days after Commerzbank participated in a capital increase at Polish unit BRE Bank and amid signs that writedowns on bad debt are still on the rise in eastern Europe. Commerzbank said it had bought a 26.25 per cent stake in Bank Forum but declined to disclose financial details.

The stake in Bank Forum, which was formerly owned by Leonid Yurushev, is understood to have been bought as part of an asset swap.

The deal raises Commerzbank’s stake above the 75 per cent threshold needed to push through a capital increase.

Commerzbank said Yurushev had left the group of shareholders in Bank Forum.