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Invalda INVL, Tesonet and ME Investicija to acquire 18% stake in Siauliu Bankas from EBRD

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VILNIUS, Lithuania, Dec. 22, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Invalda INVL (“IVL1L”) asset management group, Tesonet technology group, and ME Investicija, a holding company that owns Girteka Logistics, have signed independent agreements with the European Bank for the Reconstruction and Development (“EBRD”), to acquire a significant part of its current stake in Siauliu Bankas (“SAB1L”).

The agreements foresee the EBRD selling 18.02% of Siauliu Bankas' shares to the three buyers in total (c. 5.87% to Invalda INVL; c. 5.87% to Tesonet group (the party to the contract is Nord Security UAB, soon to be renamed Tesonet Global UAB); c. 6.29% to ME Investicija) in a series of transactions, starting at the end of 2021, and ending in mid-2024, part of which may be subject to regulatory approvals. The buyers are acting separately as independent parties.

The EBRD has provided considerable support to Siauliu Bankas, the fourth largest bank in Lithuania, for well over a decade, establishing its first equity holding in the bank in 2005, when it obtained a 16% stake. The EBRD demonstrated a continued belief in and support for Siauliu Bankas, eventually increasing its stake to 26.02% by 2018.

Melis Ekmen Tabojer, Director of EBRD’s EU Banks and Structured Finance team, said:
“Our long-term investment has contributed to Siauliu Bankas’ development and profitability. The EBRD, as a minority shareholder, will remain involved with the bank. We welcome the interest and confidence in the bank demonstrated by the three buyers. We will continue to work with the bank’s supervisory board, its management team and existing and new shareholders to secure the bank’s sustainable growth in the changing landscape of the banking industry.”

Darius Šulnis, CEO of Invalda INVL, commented:
“We greatly value the contribution of the Founders, EBRD and the whole Siauliu Bankas team to the bank‘s significant growth and achievements. As shareholders we support further steps toward maintaining and strengthening the bank’s team and strong market position through modern and client-oriented service offering.”

According to Tomas Okmanas, co-founder of Tesonet, this investment was inspired by the support for the bank's further development and modernisation.
Okmanas said:As a global technology company, we have been working closely with banking leaders worldwide and we see the huge potential that could be unlocked by a deeper understanding of how high growth companies operate. Traditional banks have reputable brands and a lot of consumer confidence, and when this can be coupled with fintech innovation, it is a winning formula. I am also looking forward to supporting Siauliu Bankas in rolling out smart and secure digital services and products that will benefit the bank's stakeholders, given its orientation towards private clients and small businesses.”

ME Investicija has been a shareholder of Siauliu Bankas since 2017. According to Tomas Krakauskas, Chief Investment Officer at ME Investicija, this latest increase in the company’s shareholding indicates the trust ME Investicija has in Siauliu Bankas' business model and its ability to continue to create added value for its clients as well as its shareholders.
Krakauskas said:“We believe that our experience with the similar investments into financial institutions around the world will contribute to creating a future-oriented bank and we are keen to actively participate as a shareholder to grow the value of Siauliu Bankas”.

According to the Lithuanian Bank Association, Siauliu Bankas is the fourth largest bank in Lithuania. As of the end of Q3 2021, it had total assets of EUR 3.7 billion, a total loan portfolio of EUR 2 billion (which represents an 8.5% share of the Lithuanian market) and shareholders’ equity of EUR 396 million. The bank’s reported 9M 2021 net profit amounted to EUR 44 million. Historically focused on lending to small and medium-sized (“SME”) businesses in Lithuania, the bank's SME portfolio accounts for around 58% of its loans. The company’s shares are listed on the Nasdaq Baltic exchange, and it has a Baa2 rating from Moody's, with a positive outlook. The bank has recently come under the joint supervision of the Bank of Lithuania and the European Central Bank. Siauliu Bankas has been named the best bank in Lithuania by Global Finance Magazine multiple times, including in 2021, when it was also named the best Lithuanian bank by the Financial Times' The Banker.

Notes to the Editor:

Invalda INVL
(https://www.invaldainvl.com/en/)

Invalda INVL is a leading asset management group which is open and growing, invests with clients, and creates well-being for people through its work. The group’s companies, which operate in Lithuania and Latvia, serve over 250,000 individual and institutional clients from the region and abroad. Those clients have entrusted the Invalda INVL group with EUR 1.5 billion of assets for management in a variety of asset classes, including pension and mutual funds, individual portfolios, private equity and other alternative investments. The shares of Invalda INVL have been trading on the Nasdaq Vilnius stock exchange since 1995.

Tesonet Group
(https://tesonet.com/)

Tesonet was founded in 2008 as a startup run by two tech enthusiasts. With tens of successful proprietary products and 2,000+ in-house talents, today Tesonet represents a fully developed infrastructure to establish, develop, fund, and scale businesses that bring meaningful tech for industry disruption. Tesonet has build one of the world’s leading cybersecurity solutions providers Nord Security, founded a leading customer support company Cyber Care and many more. Since 2018, Tesonet has also invested in a number of successful globally-oriented startups like Hostinger, CAST AI, Turing College, Eneba, Yours App and others.

ME Investicija
(https://www.girteka.eu/)

ME Investicija is a Lithuanian investment company which has investments in such companies as Girteka Logistics, the largest asset-based full truck load company in Europe, SIRIN Development, full-cycle industrial and commercial real estate development company and other businesses.

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