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2 Kazakh lenders quit merger plans

Bank RBK JSC and JSC Qazaq Banki decided to abandon their merger plans and pursue their further development as separate financial institutions.

The decision to cancel the merger plans was taken after an analysis of the proposed merger model, Bank RBK said Oct. 12, while Qazaq Banki noted in a same-date release that the withdrawal from the merger is dictated primarily by the interests of its customers and partners.

The two banks announced the signing of a merger memorandum in June, saying at the time that Kazakh businessman Vladimir Kim would become a controlling shareholder in the merged entity.

Bank RBK said Oct. 11 that it has been working on measures to improve its financial position after Kazakh media outlets reported that the lender introduced restrictions on the withdrawal of funds by its clients. The bank noted that Kim was in negotiations with other shareholders, as well as the central bank and the government with regard to the planned steps, which could include a recapitalization and provision of additional liquidity, among other things.

In August, S&P lowered Bank RBK's ratings, pointing to the deterioration in the bank's liquidity buffer over the past three months due to the sizable outflow of corporate deposits.

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