21 April 2004

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Bank of Maharashtra welcomes FIMBank as new Maltese partner

Following the announcement that First International Merchant Bank p.l.c. is to further extend its global reach through the acquisition of a 38.5 per cent shareholding in Global Trade Finance Private Ltd (GTF) of India for USD4.58 million, FIMBank Executive Vice President Margrith Lütschg-Emmenegger paid a visit to the Bank of Maharashtra Head Office in Pune, India, which will also be acquiring a nine per cent share in GTF.
GTF is a joint venture company with its head office in Mumbai and offices in New Delhi, Madras and Bangalore, India. It started operations in September 2001 and specialises in offering export-financing solutions to small and medium sized Indian exporters.
FIMBank, so far the only equity listed on the Malta Stock Exchange in US dollars, will acquire its shares from International Finance Corporation (IFC), which will be diluting its existing shareholding, and from WestLB AG which is selling all its shareholding due to strategy changes. FIMBank will become the second largest shareholder in GTF after the Export Import Bank of India, which holds a 40 per cent shareholding. IFC will now have 12.5 per cent with Bank of Maharashtra owning the remaining 9 per cent share.
Ms Lütschg-Emmenegger, who was accompanied by Arvind Sonmale of EximBank of India, were warmly received at the Head Office of Bank of Maharashtra by the Chairman and Managing Director Mr S.C. Basu and his senior management team.
Bank of Maharashtra is the 18th largest bank in India with a large network of branches all over the country and provides a very valuable service to the Indian small and medium sized exporter. It has recently successfully launched its first public issue for 23 per cent of its shareholding, which was oversubscribed by 11.5 times.
Ms Lütschg-Emmenegger was shown around the first office of Bank of Maharashtra which was founded in 1935 - a historic building in Pune - and was positively impressed by the activity in the Bajirao Road Branch. She also expressed her satisfaction at the interest and enthusiasm demonstrated towards the new venture by the senior staff of the Bank of Maharashtra.
FIMBank will primarily be the technical and international partner in GTF. Supported by EXIMBANK of India, FIMBank will be responsible for creating a greater awareness of products such as Forfaiting and Factoring in order to substantially facilitate export transactions for Indian companies.
The two new shareholders, Bank of Maharashtra and FIMBank are enthusiastic about the exciting possibilities created for both their institutions. Ms Lütschg-Emmenegger comments, “With the contribution of established Banks like EximBank and Bank of Maharashtra we intend to actively collaborate within GTF and offer innovative trade finance solutions to Indian exporters and traders. We are focused on reaching our main objective, that of becoming a recognised leader within the Trade Finance world. This acquisition will be a strategic move by the Bank to target existing opportunities and have a direct presence within this important region.”

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Editor: Saviour Balzan
The Malta Financial & Business Times, Newsworks Ltd, Vjal ir-Rihan, San Gwann
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