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Omada Capital, a London-based investment fund with interests in financial services, said it has bid for units of failed Lithuanian lender Bankas Snoras AB.
Four bidders have offered to acquire Snoras’s leasing unit and the Finasta Group, which controls an investment bank, the bank’s creditors’ committee said Aug. 24. The committee said it had selected a winner, without disclosing the buyer’s name.
“We have put in a bid at an attractive pricing, which involves a premium above book value,” Peter Hellman, a partner at Omada, said yesterday in a phone interview. “We want to give Finasta a new life, to realize its potential domestically and internationally, as well as to add certain new business lines.”
Snoras, once Lithuania’s third-biggest bank by deposits, was declared bankrupt and taken over by the central bank in November after assets were discovered missing from its balance sheet. Omada looked at the possibility of acquiring a stake in Snoras last year, when the lender planned to issue new shares, according to Hellman.
“We didn’t think that Snoras itself was an appropriate asset to acquire at the time, and I think we have been proved right here,” he said. “The opportunity to acquire Finasta on a stand-alone basis came for the first time this year.”
Omada’s bid for the Snoras units is the most-likely winner, the eversus.lt online magazine reported Sept. 2, citing people it did not identify. The fund, which would require central bank approval for the purchase, is awaiting a final decision from the creditors’ committee, Hellman said.
“The process is taking a long time -- it’s not complete,” he said. “It’s been somewhat unconventional. It remains to be seen if we’re successful.”
Hellman rejected speculation in Lithuanian media such as eversus.lt that Omada may be associated with Snoras’s former owners, Vladimir Antonov and Raimondas Baranauskas, who are fighting extradition from the U.K.
“The only contact we have ever had with Antonov and Baranauskas was last year in connection with exploring the feasibility of acquiring Snoras and Finasta,” he said.
Veikko Maripuu, managing board member of Estonia-based Redgate Capital, declined to comment by e-mail on a report in the Verslo Zinios newspaper that it may be another bidder for Snoras’s assets.
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