Investment in Armenia’s banking sector is promising - Gagik Zakaryan

20.05.2016 12:59
Investment in Armenia’s banking sector is promising - Gagik Zakaryan

YEREVAN, May 20. /ARKA/. After its successful IPO in 2015, Unibank has announced an emission of dollar registered coupon bonds as a new and profitable instrument for investment. The annual yield of the bonds is 8%. The bank will pay coupon interest once in every quarter.

Unibank OJSC pays special attention to an investment segment of its activity and offers alternative investment products fostering development of Armenia’s stock market.

A delegation from Unibank took part in Cbonds Emerging Markets Bond Conference in London in April to present Armenia’s investment ability and particularly Unibank’s offers.

More than 200 representatives of the world’s flagship investment banks and funds as well as management and consulting companies focused on CIS, Central Europe and Eastern Europe countries have been invited for the conference.

The conference participants discussed the current situation and prospects for development of securities market, new investment opportunities and the experience of the CIS and Europe countries.
IT was said that the Unibank has issued 50,000 bonds worth US$ 5 million.

The minimum package for sale includes 10 bonds of total cost of US$ 1,000. Maturity date is April 8, 2018.

The bank’s bonds are expected to be listed at NASDAQ OMX Armenian stock exchange.

“Reliability and yield are two significant factors in choosing investment instruments,” said Gagik Zakaryan, shareholder and chairman of the Unibank board. “Unibank’s bonds meet these requirements, and this makes them attractive for foreign investors. Legislative regulation of the Armenian bond market is carried out properly. Financial resources attracted on bonds as well as bank deposits are secured in Armenia by the Deposit Guarantee Fund, and the issuer Unibank is one of the large and public banks in Armenia – its stock are listed at the stock exchange. It means we have many retail investors and an absolutely transparent financial accountability.”

Taking into account the population and private investors’ interests in its bonds, Unibank is planning this year to issue and place Eurobonds at international, markets.

In late 2015, Unibank placed bonds through IPO and listed stocks on NASDAQ OMX Armenia stock exchange’s secondary platform (B). It was the first bank in Armenia to do this.

Unibank’s IPO targeted a wide range of investors and was accompanied by a large-scale marketing campaign.

As a result, the share of the bank’s free-floating stocks was no less than 10%.

Already in April 2016, Unibank issued additional stocks totaling AMD 5.2 billion, and all of them were placed at the stock exchange.

In May, the bank embarks on a new stock emission, and terms of this issue will be reported later.

“The decision to issue stocks and transform it into a maximally public bank is due to our strategy aimed at strengthening our reputation, enhancing transparency of our activity and improving corporate management at the bank,” Zakaryan said. “The successful IPO proves that Unibank has reached the development level that attracts investors’ interest. The bank is present in NASDAQ OMX Armenia listing, and the price of our stocks is exactly what determines the real market cost of the bank.”

Although, the culture of perception of stocks as an effective and long-term target for investment is still underdeveloped in Armenia, he said, but this will take not so much time to develop it.

“It is beneficial to invest in Armenia’s banking system,” Zakaryan said. “Let’s look at figures. Bank assets in Armenia have grown by 342%m capital by 236% and credit exposure by 335% since 2008.

Unibank has built up its assets by 231%, capital by 251% and lending by 240% over the same period. The bank intends to embark on placement of a new tranche of stocks and to attract also institutional investors.”

Today Unibank has 45 branches and 54 promotional centers. The number of its clients exceeds 300,000.

Unibank is intensively cooperating with the International Finance Corporation (IFC), The Black Sea Trade and Development Bank (BSTDB) and the European Investment Bank (EIB).

Retail clients and SMEs are Unibank’s top-priority client segment.

The bank’s share in the consumer lending market was 9%, in card segment 8% and in corporate lending 5% in 2015. The bank is planning to increase this figures and strengthen its positions at the market.

Unibank intends to pay special attention to development of VIP-service in 2016. It is going to open a new modern office in downtown Yerevan for servicing Unibank Privé clients perfectly.

Unibank’s brand is highly recognizable also thanks to the bank’s active participation in socially-oriented and charitable projects.

“I think large businesses should provide sponsor support to implementation of social programs as well as projects aimed at development of education, science, sports and arts,” Zakaryan said. “This is a part of the bank’s corporate social responsibility, and we will build up our participation, providing necessary assistance and support to all those projects that are important to our society, since financing of a cultural event is a way to give people a chance to enjoy this art.”

Unibank and Gagik Zakaryan personally actively support various children’s funds, such as Grant Life Foundation in Armenia, and provide support in organization of sport contests for children.

The bank has implemented a program of financial assistance for schools and is supporting an airplane modeling group.

Unibank is traditionally supporting Erebuni-Yerevan festivities, Hayastan All Armenian Fund and the Youth Symphonic Orchestra of Armenia. It has also provided a sponsor support to the Public Philharmonic Society.

Unibank in warm and friendly relations with Djivan Gasparyan, and it supported his idea to open a duduk school.

Many foreign business people of Armenian descent have provided financial assistance to Aurora Prize, international humanitarian award ceremony that took place in Yerevan in April. And Gagik Zakaryan was among them.

In 2015, Serzh Sargsyan, Armenian president, awarded the second-degree medal ‘For Service to the Motherland’ to Gagik Zakaryan. --0----


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