The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) announced today the sale to its member central banks of 35,933 BIS shares valued at SDR 468.2 million. The sale, effective 31 May 2005, completes the restoration of BIS capital that had been expended through the withdrawal of privately held shares in January 2001. The sale price of CHF 23,977.56 per share was set at the amount of compensation paid to former private shareholders, less the interest they received.
The shares had been held by the Bank in treasury since January 2001, when the decision was taken by the Bank’s General Meeting to concentrate all BIS shareholding in the hands of its member central banks. This enabled the BIS to better serve its public interest mission as an international organisation of central banks. That decision resulted in a mandatory repurchase of the BIS shares of the Belgian, French and American issues then held by private shareholders (approximately 14 percent of BIS shares).
During its financial year ending 31 March 2005, the Bank sold all available shares of the Belgian and French issues of the BIS capital to the central banks of those countries. The US Federal Reserve System did not purchase the BIS shares of the American issue, but agreed to their redistribution among member central banks. Yesterday’s sale concludes the redistribution of all available shares of the American issue.
Mr Malcolm Knight, the BIS General Manager, said, “The broad support from member central banks in purchasing BIS shares signals their commitment to the work of the BIS.”
Established in 1930 in the form of a company limited by shares, the BIS today is wholly owned and controlled by its 55 member central banks. Redistribution of these shares does not affect voting rights within the organisation.
The Bank’s financial statements for the year ending 31 March 2005 will be published in its Annual Report on 27 June 2005.