Russia hoping to sell stake in VTB?for $3bn

THE Russian government hopes to sell a 10 per cent stake in VTB, the country’s second biggest lender, for at least $3bn (£1.9bn) in late 2010 or early 2011, first deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said yesterday.

The sale is set to kick-off Russia’s biggest privatisation campaign since the 1990s, with the government hoping to raise a total of some $50bn.

“Assuming the circumstances are fortuitous and the market does not suffer sharp volatility ... we can sell the (VTB) shares by the end of the year or at the start of 2011,” Shuvalov said. “If we are now talking about 10 per cent of VTB, then it is at least $3bn.”

A source said last month the Kremlin had backed talks with US private equity group TPG for the stake, but VTB chief Andrei Kostin said no investor had been finally decided.
Among other companies up for sale in coming years is VTB’s bigger rival Sberbank, which is around 60 per cent state owned.