Bulge bracket purchases minority stake in Kiev-based Dragon Capital

Ukraine’s largest investment banking, securities brokerage, asset management, and private equity firm – Dragon Capital – announced last Wednesday that it completed the sale of a “small minority stake” to Goldman Sachs.

Kiev-based Dragon did not disclose the actual percentage of shares Goldman bought, or the price the US bulge bracket paid. Goldman purchased the shares as a financial portfolio investment, and the deal does not require regulatory approval. Dragon management will continue to run the firm and its day-to-day operations.

“This development is recognition of the professionalism and success of our 120-strong multi-national team and of our track record of triple-digit returns on equity,” said Tomas Fiala, Dragon managing director, and controlling shareholder, in the firm’s press release. “It underscores our progress over the past seven years, which saw Dragon Capital grow from a brokerage operation into Ukraine’s largest full-service investment bank and one of the top 10 financial institutions in the country by market value.”

Dragon was founded in 2000. Since 2005, it has raised $1.5 billion for Ukrainian companies via 20 IPOs and private placements.

The firm says its asset management business has about $1 billion under management, and that it is the Ukrainian stock market’s largest broker (with a 2007 market share of 34%).

In its most recent mandate, announced on Dec. 20, Dragon advised on the $136 million sale of a 75.8% holding in Ukrinbank, Ukraine’s 46th largest bank by asset value, to Bank Hapoalim, Israel’s largest bank.

Earlier this year, Dragon advised Greece’s Piraeus Bank on its acquisition of Kiev-based International Commercial Bank. In 2006, Dragon was retained by Austrian firm Erste Bank to assist in its purchase of Ukraine’s Bank Prestige.

Besides its Kiev headquarters, Dragon has a second office in Prague.

Source: Dragon Capital

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