On 15 February 2011 Parliament of Ukraine adopted amendments (the "Amendment") to the Law of Ukraine "On Banks and Banking Activity" (the "Bank Law"), establishing new rules of acquisition of substantial interest in the banks (the "New Rules"). Under the New Rules, acquisition of at least 10%, 25%, 50% and 75% of shares in a Ukrainian bank by a legal entity or individual requires 3-months prior notification of the relevant Ukrainian bank and the National Bank of Ukraine (the "NBU"). Acquisition is deemed to be approved by the NBU, if it does not prohibit the transaction within 3 months of the notification. The Amendment is currently awaiting its promulgation by the President of Ukraine with an official publication to follow. The Amendment shall take effect within 3 months after its publication.
When effective, the New Rules will change the current requirement of the obtainment of the NBU's permit prior to acquisition of the relevant equity percentages in a Ukrainian bank established by Article 34 of the Bank Law and the Regulations on the Procedure for Establishment and State Registration of Banks, Opening the Banks' Branches, Representative Offices and Divisions approved by Resolution of the NBU No. 375 dated 31 August 2001, as amended (the "Existing Rules"). The Existing Rules are notoriously known for establishing an extensive list of documents to be submitted to the NBU by the applicant seeking obtainment of the NBU's permit.
The New Rules do not appear to reduce the relevant list of documents to be submitted to the NBU together with the acquisition notice, but rather replicate the list of documents required by the Existing Rules. Although the NBU describes the New Rules as easing the acquisition regulation, it is to be seen whether the NBU's relevant implementing regulation will be changed to provide for a simpler procedure.
The NBU must implement the New Rules within 3 months upon enactment of the Amendments. In practice transactions with substantial interest in Ukrainian banks may be suspended until the necessary procedure under the New Rules is approved by the NBU.
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