Fitch Ratings Initiates Coverage Of TBC Bank Uzbekistan: The Fast-Growing Fintech Gets Rated Like The Sovereign

Fitch Ratings announced today that it is initiating coverage of TBC Bank Uzbekistan, part of London-listed TBC Bank Group PLC, awarding it a Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of ‘BB-’ with a Stable Outlook to the lender in line with Uzbekistan’s sovereign rating.

“This is a historic milestone for TBC Bank Uzbekistan, underscoring our outstanding results. Fitch’s rating is a testament to our profitable growth, strong balance sheet, and dedication to building a best-in-class fintech ecosystem,’’ Nika Kurdiani, CEO of TBC Group operations in Uzbekistan, said in a statement released by the banking group. “We are one of few companies to achieve a credit rating of BB- in Uzbekistan, which is the same level as the current sovereign rating.”

TBC Uzbekistan, a subsidiary of TBC Bank Group, Georgia’s largest bank, is the leading digital financial ecosystem in Uzbekistan, Central Asia’s largest country by population. It has the first-mover advantage in this market and comprises of three high-growth fintech businesses: TBC UZ, a mobile-only bank; Payme, a digital payments app for individuals and small businesses; and Payme Nasiya (Payme Instalments), a fast-growing instalment credit business.

“TBC Bank Uzbekistan achieved profitability just two years after launch – a record time-to-profit among global digital banks. We are scaling our digital banking business and launching a wide range of digital financial services to improve the lives of the people of Uzbekistan,’’ added Oliver Hughes, Head of International Business at TBC Group. “Operating a fully-licensed, consumer lending-led, and deposit-funded business model, we are committed to delivering further growth and long-term value for our shareholders.”

While TBC Bank Uzbekistan contributed 9% of TBC Bank Group’s total revenue and 5% of net profit in 2023, Fitch Ratings expects this to increase further in the medium term, the ratings agency said in a statement. In its quarterly results for 1Q 2024, TBC Bank Group recently announced that TBC Bank Uzbekistan contributed 12% of operating income and 6% of net profit.