Category Archives: News

VTB inhales one of Europe’s main cigarette makers

By Andrei Skvarsky. Russia’s VTB Capital has completed the acquisition of Bulgartabac, one of Europe’s leading cigarette manufacturers. The investment banking arm of state-owned VTB Group, Russia’s second biggest lender, said in a statement it had paid 100.1m euros ($136.8m) for its 79.83% stake in the Sofia-based company. The terms of the deal include commitments… Continue Reading

Ernst & Young hires Deutsche Boerse’s Steinbach to run IPOs

By Andrei Skvarsky. Ernst & Young has hired Martin Steinbach, a former senior figure at Deutsche Boerse, to run its initial public offerings and listings centre for Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa. Steinbach spent nearly a decade as head of issuer and investor markets at Deutsche Boerse, the stock exchange based in Frankfurt-am-Main,… Continue Reading

Canadians mull visa ban for Magnitsky officials

By Andrei Skvarsky. Canada is considering joining the United States in denying entry visas to Russian officials blamed for the death in jail of Hermitage Capital fund lawyer Sergei Magnitsky. “The ongoing impunity, and indeed, in this instance shocking impunity regarding Russian officials is as scandalous as it is shocking,” Irwin Cotler, a member of… Continue Reading

VTB includes regional chief in top brass

By Andrei Skvarsky. VTB Group has given an additional role to Denis Bortnikov, head of the state-owned bank’s division for northwesternRussia, by appointing him as a member of the group’s top executive panel. Bortnikov, whose appointment is subject to Central Bank approval, started his career in 1996 at Industry and Construction Bank, which was later… Continue Reading

Alfa Bank promotes Petr Smida to board chairman

By Andrei Skvarsky. Alfa Bank has promoted Petr Smida, one of its top executives, to the role of  board chairman, a job he already held at the firm for several months in 2008. Smida, who held US- and Czech-based positions at banking arms of General Electric before joining Alfa, was the Russian bank’s chief executive for a while. The… Continue Reading

Barclays offloads Russian retail to focus on investment banking

By Andrei Skvarsky. Barclays Bank’s Russian unit will focus on investment banking after offloading its retail and commercial banking operations in Russia under a deal it has just signed with investors including banker Igor Kim. The deal follows a February 15 announcement by the British institution that it would close its retail and commercial banking business in Russia. Barclays is one… Continue Reading

Allianz’s Russian fund manager parts company with CEO

By Andrei Skvarsky. Allianz’s fund management joint venture in Moscow has parted company with its CEO Oleg Mazurov. Allianz ROSNO Asset Management runs eight mutual funds. The assets entrusted to the Munich-based global insurer’s Russian venture have swelled to 25.29bn rubles ($830m) since Mazurov became its CEO five years ago, according to a statement by… Continue Reading

Micex-RTS merger wins 'deal of the year' prize

By Andrei Skvarsky. Micex and RTS, Russia’s two key stock exchanges, have won a prize from a Russian business magazine for their current merger, a $1bn deal to be closed on December 19. The Kompaniya weekly declared the two exchanges winners of the company of the year prize in the deal of the year category, according to statements from… Continue Reading

Troika Dialog hires Deutsche’s Gordeyeva as senior analyst

By Andrei Skvarsky. Russian brokerage Troika Dialog has hired Julia Gordeyeva from Deutsche Bank  as a senior real estate analyst. Before joining Deutsche as a senior analyst, Gordeyeva held a similar Moscow-based role at Dutch bank ING, and earlier on worked in the United States for JP Morgan Fleming Investment Management. Gordeyeva takes up her job today,… Continue Reading

Troika Dialog hires Citi’s Walker in preparing for Sberbank era

By Andrei Skvarsky. Russian broker Troika Dialog has hired David Walker from Citigroup as a managing director in its investment banking division. Walker’s appointment is the latest in a recent series of senior recruitments made by Troika, which has been acquired by Sberbank in the latter’s efforts to move into investment banking. Walker, who took… Continue Reading

UniCredit sets out fund distribution alliance with BNP Paribas

By Andrei Skvarsky. UniCredit’s lending arm in Russia will be selling, exchanging and redeeming shares in 18 mutual funds managed by French-Russian venture TKB BNP Paribas Investment Partners under a new distribution agreement. The deal between the Italian lender and TKB BNP Paribas, which is co-owned by France’s BNP Paribas and Russian railways monopoly RZD,… Continue Reading

Societe Generale’s Rosbank hit by 146.6m-euro fraud

By Andrei Skvarsky. Societe Generale lost 146.6m euros through fraud at Rosbank, the French bank’s Russian subsidiary, in 2007. The fraud was committed at the subsidiary’s Swiss branch, Rosbank Switzerland, and has resulted in the latter’s liquidation, according to the Daily Telegraph and Financial News. The loss, described as “fraud” in Rosbank’s 2007 annual report,… Continue Reading

Otkritie plans 10% personnel cuts

By Andrei Skvarsky. Otkritie has decided to cut its personnel by 10%, following other Russian banks that have embarked on redundancy schemes. About 700 people would let go in a redundancy wave that would roll through all divisions of Otkritie and is expected to enable the Moscow-based firm to reduce its spending by between 15%… Continue Reading

Sberbank buying Russian unit of Allianz

By Andrei Skvarsky. Sberbank has announced it is buying a Russian unit of Europe’s largest insurance company, Allianz. Sberbank’s 100% takeover of Allianz Life is to be finished before the year end, according to a statement from Russia’s biggest lender. It has not been disclosed how much Sberbank is paying for Allianz Life, which is… Continue Reading

KRAUS COMMENT: The Twilight of the West

By Eric Kraus, author of the Truth and Beauty (and Russian Finance). The good news is that we have a ringside seat for the decline of the West… the bad news – we are inside the ring! The miserable thing about being a seer is that when you get it right – no one remembers… Continue Reading

Merrill Lynch promises “strategic hires” in Russia

By Andrei Skvarsky.   Bank of America Merrill Lynch has announced it “is strengthening its infrastructure” in Russia and is going to make “strategic hires”.   Moving to new offices in central Moscow is part of BAML’s expansion in Russia, according to a statement by the bank, which recently dismissed one of its top Moscow-based… Continue Reading

Khodorkovsky money found stashed in Swiss bank

By Andrei Skvarsky.   Jailed Russian tycoon Mikhail Khodorkovsky has stashed between 15m and 20m euros on an account in Swiss bank Julius Baer that no one has heard of until now.   German investigators who were hunting tax dodgers came across the account in searching the databases of Julius Baer’s European headquarters in Frankfurt… Continue Reading

Micex-RTS set provisional trading schedule for New Year’s 'holiday'

By Andrei Skvarsky. Russian stock exchanges Micex and RTS have warned they will not issue trading schedules for the New Year holiday season of January 1-10 before arrangements are made for the smooth operation of Russia’s entire banking system in that period. The National Securities Market Association, the Russian National Association of Securities Market Participants… Continue Reading

EXCLUSIVE: Dutch bank ING goes on Russian hiring spree

By Andrei Skvarsky.   Dutch bank ING has made a series of hires for its investment banking team in Russia over the past few months in bouncing back after being forced by the global financial crisis to scale down its presence in the country.   Igor Goncharov, Tatiana Prokina and Anna Kochkina were taken on… Continue Reading

UKRAINE COMMENT: Muted response by markets to Tymoshenko sentence

Arthur McCallum  Arthur McCallum, Head of Strategy at Eavex Capital. The October 11 sentencing of Yulia Tymoshenko to seven years in jail and a fine of UAH 1.5bn (USD 188mn) for abuse of power has caused quite a stir internationally. We maintain our view that the escalation of the Tymoshenko situation is a reflection of… Continue Reading

Sberbank targeting cheap buyouts in crisis-rocked Europe

By Andrei Skvarsky.   Wounded European banks UniCredit Group, Raiffeisen, Societe Generale and KBC Group are the next most likely targets for acquisition-hungry Russian behemoth Sberbank.   Sberbank, which has already gobbled up Austria’s VBI and is looking at Dexia’s Turkish unit, is keen for more action in Western European countries bombed out by the… Continue Reading

BRIC exchanges join up the dots for alliance

By Marcus Williams. The exchanges of the emerging markets bloc of Brazil, Russia, India and China are forming an alliance to help deepen their liquidity and offer investors pooled exposure to their markets. This initiative was announced at the 51st AGM of the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) in Johannesburg yesterday. The initiative brings together… Continue Reading

Bankers react in dismay as Russia opts to trade during New Year holiday

By Andrei Skvarsky.Moscow bankers reacted in shock and dismay after the unexpected decision to open Russian stock exchanges Micex and RTS during most of the 10-day national non-working period in early January. Many market participants had long planned holidays and had booked flights and hotels to foreign destinatations. The two bourses will stay open from… Continue Reading

Russia to bail out debt-ridden European countries?

By Marcus Williams. Russia may rescue Europe from its debt crisis provided it sees a concrete rescue plan from the continent’s partners, President Dmitry Medvedev’s economic aide said yesterday. Former finance minister Alexei Kudrin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov discussed the issue of debt with Spanish Finance Minister Elena Salgado, according to the aide Arkady… Continue Reading

Sberbank may bid for European lender’s Turkish subsidiary

By Andrei Skvarsky.   Russia’s Sberbank is considering bidding for DenizBank, a Turkish lender owned by troubled European bank Dexia.   Dexia, a Brussels-headquartered bank anticipating what would be a second state bailout in the past few years, has its foreign assets up for sale.   “It is clear that Turkey is very much in… Continue Reading

BNP Paribas may buy out Pioneer Investments unit from UniCredit

By Andrei Skvarsky. France’s BNP Paribas is considering a partial buyout of a Russian subsidiary of US-based investment manager Pioneer Investments from Italy’s UniCredit. TKB BNP Paribas Investment Partners, a firm controlled by the French lender and Russian railways monopoly RZD, would take over three funds with total assets of 998m rubles ($31.4m) from Pioneer… Continue Reading

KRAUS COMMENT: The Eternal Russia – The Eternal Return

By Eric Kraus, author of Truth and Beauty (and Russian Finance). The major story is, of course, the return of Vladimir Putin to the Russian presidency – an outcome which we always thought likely given that Medvedev seemed a deeply counterintuitive choice for the Russian presidency. Totally lacking in charisma and with no experience of… Continue Reading

VTB Capital hires Goldman banker to run global flow sales

By Andrei Skvarsky. Russia’s VTB Capital has hired Philip Hamilton from Goldman Sachs as global head of flow sales. Hamilton joined former colleague Atanas Bostanjiev, who left Goldman recently to spearhead VTB Capital’s international expansion. Hamilton will be based in London and run trading and sales operations for foreign exchange, credit, loans and rates, according… Continue Reading

Mid Europa boosts stake in solar power operator to 95%

By Andrei Skvarsky. The Mid Europa Partners private equity firm has announced it has boosted its stake in Energy 21, the region’s biggest solar power plant operator, to 95%. Mid Europa, the largest private equity firm focused on Central and Eastern Europe, manages funds worth about 3.2bn euros. An independent firm headquartered in London, it also… Continue Reading