EBRD intervenes to salvage Lithuania’s Ukio bank

By Andrei Skvarsky. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is lending 20m euros in co-funding an urgent effort to rescue Lithuania’s troubled Ukio bank, whose woes are seen as a threat to the Baltic country’s entire financial sector. {{{*}}} Under an agreement between Ukio’s administrator, the lender, headquartered in Lithuania’s second-largest city of Kaunas,… Continue Reading

Prostor Capital and Moscow Seed Fund invest in Car-Fin.ru project

Prostor Capital, the Russian VC fund, and Moscow Venture Investment Fund have invested {{{*}}} $400K in Car-Fin.ru project which is a service that allows you to compare different offers when choosing a car, to get credit and leasing online. Car-Fin team took part in the selection under the GTI Labs acceleration program, that is already supported by… Continue Reading

EU financial intel body takes up Magnitsky affair

By Andrei Skvarsky. The European Commission has launched an investigation into the laundering of money stolen from Russian tax authorities in an alleged monumental scam uncovered {{{?}}} by Sergei Magnitsky, a Russian lawyer for British investment fund Hermitage Capital who died in a Moscow jail in 2009. The commission asked for such a probe at a… Continue Reading

FTI Consulting: global business “surprisingly” upbeat about world banking

By Andrei Skvarsky. FTI Consulting, a global business advisory firm, has said it has carried out a poll that suggests the world business community is “surprisingly” optimistic about the global banking industry. {{{*}}} Of more than 1,000 business leaders in major global economies who were questioned in the survey, 89% believed their home country’s banking… Continue Reading

AVentures Capital invests in Ukrainian developer of technology for Google Glasses

AVentures Capital has acquired a 25% equity stake in Augmented Pixels, one of the world’s leading augmented reality technology developers. The deal closed on February 15, 2013. AVentures Capital and Augmented Pixels didn’t disclose the financial details of the Series A deal to the public. However, AVentures fund typically invests from $300,000 to $3 million… Continue Reading

Wermuth’s pro-environment fund pulls off second deal in short while

By Andrei Skvarsky. Wermuth Asset Management, a German firm with most of its business interests in Russia, has reported a second transaction by its sustainable energy-focused Green Gateway Fund, with the previous deal announced just three days ago. {{{*}}} Green Gateway Fund, whose legal name is Europe-Tatarstan Cleantech Fund, led a group of investors that put… Continue Reading

EBRD to have permanent office in Jordan

By Andrei Skvarsky. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development is to have a permanent office in Amman under a recent agreement with the Jordanian government. {{{*}}} The EBRD said in a statement that it had appointed Heike Harmgart, one of its senior economists, as head of the office. The EBRD, which began investing in… Continue Reading

Russia’s Aton hires ex-UBS banker to run new brokerage arm

Russia’s Aton investment group has hired Alexei Sizov, a former UBS, JP Morgan and Renaissance Capital banker, as head of institutional business at its new brokerage Aton Capital. {{{*}}} Sizov will oversee the equity, fixed income, treasury, direct market access and research units and the brokerage’s office in London, the Moscow-based group said in a… Continue Reading

EBRD, Ukraine come up with anti-corruption plan

By Andrei Skvarsky. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the Ukrainian government have agreed a short-term plan to set up a public-private working group and the office of business ombudsman in Ukraine to address the country’s vast-scale corruption. {{{*}}} Later on, the EBRD and Ukraine will be developing a comprehensive initiative to fight… Continue Reading

Wermuth reports deal, two senior appointments

By Andrei Skvarsky. The Green Gateway Fund, a 110m-euro investment fund run by Germany’s Wermuth Asset Management, has acquired a minority stake in The Mobility House (TMH), a Germany-based provider of charging equipment for electric vehicles. {{{*}}} Wermuth’s statement that reported the deal did not disclose the size of the stake. Wermuth, a firm with… Continue Reading

Head of Product Development / Marketing – Banking Group – Moscow

{{{?}}} One of the largest banking groups in Russia is looking for Head of Product Development / Marketing for it’s Moscow office. The successful candidate must have: – relevant experience working in a senior role in product development / marketing within financial services industry; – strong management experience – ideally with knowledge of Russian & CIS markets as well… Continue Reading

HSBC drawn into Magnitsky affair as Russian police demand info

By Andrei Skvarsky. HSBC has found itself drawn into the Magnitsky affair as Russian police are pressing its Moscow subsidiary to cough up information relating to Hermitage Capital and threatening to use force if the British bank’s Russian arm refuses to cooperate, Hermitage said. {{{*}}} Russia’s Interior Ministry wants HSBC’s Russian unit to provide wide-ranging… Continue Reading

Moscow Exchange IPO kicks off with $500m worth of stock floated

The Moscow Exchange is launching its initial public offering today, putting 15bn rubles’ (497.5m dollars’) worth of stock on sale on its own platform and having set the per-share price at 55 rubles ($1.83). {{{*}}} A statement from the exchange values the bourse at 126.9bn rubles ($4.2bn). VTB Capital, as stabilising manager of the IPO,… Continue Reading

SBERBANK COMMENT: Economic update – sluggish performance

By analysts, Sberbank Investment Research. Growth slowed at end 2012 not just in Russia but also in neighboring Kazakhstan, Belarus and Ukraine. In contrast to Russia, where slowing economic growth has been accompanied by softening consumption growth, the Kazakh, Belarusian and Ukrainian consumer markets remain overheated. {{{*}}} We see serious risk of economic contraction in… Continue Reading

EAST CAPITAL COMMENT: Chinese equities going from strength to strength

By Gustav Rhenman, Portfolio Manager, East Capital. The outlook for Chinese equities remains upbeat after they rallied  for the fifth month in a row. Among emerging markets, China stands out thanks to accelerating economic growth, rebounding industrial profits and fresh evidence that the country’s real estate market is not a bubble. {{{*}}} Since September 2012,… Continue Reading

EU legislators press Ashton over Magnitsky affair

By Andrei Skvarsky. One of the European Parliament’s political groups has pressed the European Commission to go ahead with sanctions against alleged Russian persecutors and killers of Hermitage Capital lawyer Sergei Magnitsky that the EU legislature recommended in October and December. {{{*}}} In an address to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, the Alliance of… Continue Reading

RenCap hosting one-to-one pan-Africa investor conference

Moscow’s Renaissance Capital, seeing Africa as “a golden opportuunity for investors”, is hosting a three-day annual one-to-one pan-Africa investor conference in Lagos which opened on February 11. {{{*}}} “Against the current backdrop of global market instability, Africa remains a source of tremendous growth and opportunity”, RenCap said in a statement. The current fourth Pan-Africa Investor… Continue Reading

RenCap hires traders from Alfa-Bank, Aton

Russia’s Renaissance Capital has announced it has hired Dmitry Ryzhkov from Alfa-Bank as vice president and equity sales trader for Russia and the CIS and Yury Nefedov from Aton as associate and fixed income currencies and commodities (FICC) trader. {{{*}}} Ryzhkov worked as an equity sales trader at UniCredit Aton from 2006 to 2008 before… Continue Reading

VTB Capital sells bond worth $169.5m in Turkey

VTB Capital has sold a two-year bond in Turkey to a total of 300m Turkish lira ($169.5m). {{{*}}} Garanti Bank, one of Turkey’s biggest private lenders, organised the placement of the bond on the Istanbul Stock Exchange. The bond, sold to qualified investors, had a semi-annual coupon of 3.89%, the investment arm of Russia’s VTB… Continue Reading

Moscow Exchange hires former LSE exec to run intl sales

The Moscow Exchange has hired Tom O’Brien from TMX Group, the firm operating the Toronto Stock Exchange, as head of international sales.  {{{*}}} O’Brien will be based in London and starts his new job in April, the Moscow bourse said in a statement. He has spent 17 years at the London Stock Exchange in various roles… Continue Reading

Ukraine’s stock market down 35% in 2012 – East Capital

Ukraine’s stock market was the world’s second worst performer after that of Cyprus last year, slumping by 35%, but can get a boost from a potential new loan from the International Monetary Fund, according to Stockholm-based asset manager East Capital. {{{*}}} Ukraine’s economy, where the main stock market players are mining, energy, engineering and financial… Continue Reading

Moscow Exchange gives CIS banks free access to currency market

By Andrei Skvarsky. The Moscow Exchange has given unrestricted access to its currency market to banks domiciled in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan. {{{*}}} Banks in the four countries, which, together with Russia, are building a so-called Eurasian Economic Community, no longer need a Russian currency trade licence for access to the Moscow bourse’s currency… Continue Reading

Sberbank says Russia’s economic growth driven by consumer sectors

{{{?}}} By Andrei Skvarsky. Sberbank has released an extensive body of research arguing that Russia’s economic growth is driven by consumer-related sectors and not by oil and gas, and that those sectors offer vast opportunities to investors. While extractive industries account for two-thirds of Russia’s stock market, and oil and gas dominate the country’s exports,… Continue Reading

Russia is leading growth in venture-capital funds raised

Russia has seen a venture investing boom in its high technology in the past six years, {{{*}}} The Wall Street Journal reports citing findings by Dow Jones VentureSource. As a result, the Russian venture capital sector now ranks Europe’s fourth largest investor in its own high technology industries, according to Dow. Reporting the latest Dow findings, The… Continue Reading

IFC supports fuel distribution infrastructure in Ukraine

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is helping provide an $85 million financing package to build a network of gas filling stations in eastern Ukraine, bolstering the infrastructure for petrochemicals distribution and expanding access to high-quality fuel services across the country. IFC will provide $30 million in debt financing to support the network,… Continue Reading

Europe Virgin Fund invests in pharmaceutical company Sperco Ukraine

Europe Virgin Fund L.P. (‘EVF’), a private equity fund sponsored by Dragon Capital, has completed formation of a 50/50 joint venture {{{*}}} with Ucrafarma S.A., a Spanish pharmaceutical company. The partners have united their forces in Lux PHARMA Participations SA, a Luxembourg-based holding company, with Ucrafarma transferring various pharmaceutical assets including its 95% stake in… Continue Reading