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EBRD eyes stakes in two Uzbek banks

TASHKENT, March 5 (Reuters) - The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is considering taking stakes in two state-owned Uzbek banks with the aim of supporting their eventual privatisation, EBRD executives said on Thursday.

"We are conducting due diligence in Asaka Bank which is a priority bank selected by the authorities for transformation leading to privatisation," Alkis Drakinos, head of the EBRD resident office in Uzbekistan, told a briefing.

"We will repeat the same work with Aloqa Bank which is a smaller state bank".

The potential deals are part of a broader strategy outlined by EBRD President Suma Chakrabarti who was in Tashkent on Thursday.

Apart from banks, the lender seeks to work on sustainable infrastructure projects, renewable energy, loss reduction in the gas transportation system, and mining.

"We would like to support reform in the mining sector... that will help commercialisation and eventual privatisation of some of the assets," Chakrabarti told the same briefing. (Reporting by Mukhammadsharif Mamatkulov Writing by Olzhas Auyezov;Editing by Elaine Hardcastle)