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Uzbekistan to divest 15% holding in Asaka Bank to foreign investors

Uzbekistan invited foreign investors to participate in thesale of a 15% state-owned stake in State Joint-Stock Commercial Bank Asaka (OJSC), thecountry's second-largest lender in terms of capital size.

Uzbekistan's authorities want to sell 69,607,802 Asaka Bankshares with a respective par value and market price of 1,112.08 Uzbek soms and2,357.00 soms apiece. The total market value of the offered stake amounts toabout 164.07 billion soms or approximately $58.5 million, the bank said in apresentation. The shares will be offered via an auction at the Tashkent stockexchange.

In line with a presidential decree from December 2015,foreign investors' dividend income on shares of joint stock companies will beexempt from taxation until Jan. 1, 2020, the lender noted.

The bank's main shareholders are the Ministry of Financewith a 54.14% holding, automotive company Uzavtosanoat with a 12.94% stake, theFund for Reconstruction and Development of the Republic of Kazakhstan with a12.93% stake and metals and mining company Almalykskiy with a 6.1% stake. reported Feb. 15 that the Uzbek government plansto offer foreign investors at least 15% holdings in 89 joint stock companies,including Asaka Bank, OpenJoint-Stock Commercial Bank Qishloq Qurilish Bank, ,Joint-stock commercial mortgagebank Ipoteka-bank and Microcredit Bank.

In December 2015, Uzbekistan decided that foreign investorsin the country's joint stock companies should hold at least 15% by July 1,2016, the news report noted.

As of April 29, US$1was equivalent to 2,899.25 Uzbek soms.