Sberbank sale sparks more privatisations

Tim Wallace
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RUSSIA’S second largest bank yesterday announced it is seeking to sell shares next spring, following the central bank’s successful sale of a stake in the country’s largest institution Sberbank.

VTB’s boss Andrei Kostin said “we will go ahead” with a $2bn (£1.2bn) sale next year, which could include new shares as well as some privatisation. “We were waiting for Sberbank, it managed to place shares. Good for them.”

The Sberbank deal saw the central bank sell 7.6 per cent of the firm for $5.2bn, with the offer heavily oversubscribed on the day the book opened, driving the discount on the share price to the lowest level ever for a Russian firm, at 1.9 per cent.

Bankers who worked on the Sberbank sale said they were hopeful it would spark more privatisations.

“This was the best deal of the year,” said Troika Dialogue’s Ruben Vardanian. “It is a good case study, showing transparent firms with the right corporate governance can get a result even in difficult markets.”