Sberbank buys 5% stake in Baturina’s Inteco

By Andrei Skvarsky. Sberbank is buying a 5% stake in construction company Inteco from Yelena Baturina, the wife of former Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov. Binbank co-owner Mikhail Shishkhanov is buying the rest of the construction firm, which is wholly owned by Baturina and has its market value put at $1.2bn. Inteco’s sale to Shishkhanov and… Continue Reading

Nordic fund CapMan gets chunk of Siberian Web provider

By Andrei Skvarsky. CapMan, a Nordic private equity firm, has acquired 20% interest in Russian Internet service provider Siberian Networks and plans to boost the stake to 25% within months. Siberian Networks projects a turnover of about 15m euros ($21.1m) for 2011. One of the leading Web service providers in Siberia with more than 100,000… Continue Reading

Magnitsky mother to be questioned by her son’s alleged killers

By Andrei Skvarsky. Sergei Magnitsky’s mother has been summoned for an interrogation as part of the tax evasion case reopened against the Hermitage Capital lawyer in July, 20 months after his death in a Moscow jail. Natalia Magnitskaya will be questioned as a witness by police officers whom Hermitage accuses of torturing the anti-corruption lawyer… Continue Reading

GOLDMAN COMMENT: Swissy never lies

By Jim O’Neil, Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management. In the context of the ongoing challenges in the US, the Euro Area and elsewhere, this week I have chosen to focus on the Swiss Franc currency. Throughout the market mayhem of August, and its subsequent carry over into the start of September, the Swiss Franc… Continue Reading

Bank of Georgia seeking premium London listing

By Andrei Skvarsky. Bank of Georgia is seeking a premium London Stock Exchange listing, which would open the former Soviet republic’s number one lender to a much broader range of investors. The firm plans to reincorporate as a UK holding company, to be called Newco. It will then come up with a proposal in the… Continue Reading

Merrill Lynch hires analyst from Troika

By Andrei Skvarsky. Bank of America Merrill Lynch has hired Olga Veselova from Russian brokerage Troika Dialog as an analyst for its Russian subsidiary. Veselova, who was an analyst at Bank of Moscow before joining Troika in 2007, took up her position at Moscow’s Merrill Lynch Securities yesterday, according to Interfax. Troika has parted company… Continue Reading

WEAFER COMMENT: New month – new hope

By Chris Weafer, Chief Strategist at Troika Dialog. Equity markets look set to extend recent gains after another positive session in the US and broadly based gains across Asia this morning. However, after such a strong run into the end of August, investors will likely adopt a more cautious approach until the important economic indicators,… Continue Reading

Alfa-Bank to part company with CEO Johann Jonach

By Andrei Skvarsky.   Alfa-Bank chief executive Johann Jonach is going to quit Russia’s largest non-state lender in a month’s time.   Jonach, who formerly worked at Raiffeisen Bank International AG, has opted against renewing his contract with Alfa, which expires in October, Vienna-based monthly Trend said, citing the top manager himself.   Alfa declined… Continue Reading

S&P warns Russia about 'ambiguous' presidential coronation

By Marcus Williams. Global ratings agency Standard and Poor‘s  yesterday warned  that “an ambiguous succession process” leading up to next year’s elections was adding risks to a centrally managed economy. S&P  affirmed Russia’s BBB long-term foreign currency sovereign rating and A-3 short-term rating with a stable outlook. However, the agency damned Russia’s current election process,… Continue Reading

Russia direct investment sank 20% in first quarter

By Marcus Williams. Russia suffered a 20% slump in direct investment to $12.825bn compared to the fourth quarter of last year. Direct investment includes foreign participation in Russian companies, reinvested profit and other capital. From 2010, the regulator has included investment not only in non-banking firms, but also in the banking sector. In the first… Continue Reading

Pressure grows on Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas to pull out of Belarus

By Ivan Anderzhanov. Pressure is mounting on European lenders Deutsche Bank and BNP Paribas to quit fundraising for pariah state Belarus after Royal Bank of Scotland announced that it will not do any more deals for Minsk. RBS, along with Deutsche and BNP, helped Belarus issue $1.8bn in sovereign eurobonds after opposition presidential candidates were… Continue Reading

Troika Dialog snags JP Morgan banker

By Andrei Skvarsky. Russian brokerage Troika Dialog has hired Anton Malkov from J.P. Morgan for a senior investment banking role. Malkov spent more than two years as a Moscow-based vice president of Deutsche Bank before joining J.P. Morgan’s Moscow operation. Malkov’s duties at Troika include deal structuring and consultancy, the firm said in a statement.… Continue Reading

Otkritie hires consumer analyst from Nomura

By Andrei Skvarsky. Russian broker Otkritie has confirmed it has hired Mikhail Terentiev from Nomura International as senior consumer analyst. Terentiev had a similar role at Nomura, which he joined in 2008 after a two-year spell as an equity research analyst at Troika Dialog. Continue Reading

Barclays gets near to Russian exit lounge

By Ivan Anderzhanov. British bank Barclays is close to selling its Russian retail and commercial banking business to Kazcommertzbank, Kazakhstan’s biggest lender. Barclays could agree to the sale of Expobank as soon as next week, according a report by the UK broadcaster Sky News. The UK high-street lender will continue to do business in the… Continue Reading

Renaissance names Yvonne Ike as CEO of West Africa

By Andrei Skvarsky Renaissance Capital, the emerging markets investment bank, has  named Yvonne Ike as chief executive for West Africa, based in Lagos. Ike replaces Rotimi Oyekanmi, who has been appointed chairman emeritus for Renaissance Group,  West Africa.  In this role, Oyekanmi, who joined Renaissance in 2007, will be responsible for the build-out of Renaissance’s… Continue Reading

Traders wary of Micex's suspension for ''technical reasons''

By Andrei Skvarsky. Russia’s leading Micex stock exchange was suspended yesterday in a move reminiscent of trading halts that occurred frequently following the 2008 financial crash. The bourse attributed the one-hour plus suspension to ”technical reasons.”  It later reopened before closing down 3.7 percent as global equities tumbled. However, many market makers in Moscow and… Continue Reading

Russian champanksa maker to go pop with IPO

By Marcus Williams. Russian sparkling wine producer Abrau-Durso is planning an initial public offering at the end of 2011 or the start of 2012. “The shares are likely to be placed on the Moscow Interbank Currency Exchange (MICEX), but we are not considering foreign trading floors yet,” a spokespersn told Ria Novosti yesterday. The company,… Continue Reading

EBRD attracts SRI lender to Russian market for first time

By Marcus Williams. An EBRD loan for Russia’s Transcapitalbank marks the first time an institution with a specific mandate to act as a socially responsible lender is participating as a co-financier to raise funds for a Russian borrower. To date, the EBRD’s partners in such transactions have traditionally been commercial banks, according to a statement from the… Continue Reading

State Street appoints Raynes for senior EMEA role

State Street Global Advisors, the US fund giant, has recruited Susan Raynes as head of its UK, and EMEA institutional business. Raynes, who was previously head of SSgA’s San Francisco office, replaces Kanesh Lakhani, who worked at the firm for 13 years. Raynes will report to EMEA  head Greg Ehret and will be responsible for identifying institutional business… Continue Reading

EXCLUSIVE: Wermuth fund manager Winsell Davies quits for Metropol role

John Winsell Davies By Ivan Anderzhnov. John Winsell Davies has quit Wermuth Asset Management and has started offering  his ”consulting services” to Metropol. Winsell Davies will work closely with Hawk Sunshine, who switched from a senior investment banking role at Metropol last year to managing director of fund management. Winsell Davies, a Russia veteran with… Continue Reading

GOLDMAN COMMENT: Looking through the fog

By Jim O’Neil, Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management. In the past week, we have experienced remarkable turmoil in financial markets, which have brought back memories for many people of the darkest days of late 2008. Are direct parallels to 2008 valid ? Many other questions also come to mind.  Are current market valuation levels… Continue Reading

Sberbank, VTB and Alfa bring bonuses back to pre-crisis levels

By Andrei Skvarsky. Major Russian lenders Sberbank, VTB and Alfa Bank have resumed the payment of bonuses with remuneration for top managers now returning to pre-crisis levels, according to Vedomosti. The undisputed leader in the generosity stakes is Alfa Bank, which is controlled by oligarch Mikhail Fridman. Nine members of its board collected one billion rubles in salary, bonuses… Continue Reading

Renaissance boosts wealth management arm with two hires

By Andrei Skvarsky. Renaissance Advisors, an investment unit of Renaissance Group, has  boosted its Moscow team by hiring Vagan Amichba and Kirill Schmidt. Amichba has been hired as managing director and a senior financial advisor focusing on the group’s ultra-high-net-worth individuals and cross-selling into all businesses. Before joining Renaissance, he ran his own M&A consulting… Continue Reading

COMMENT: Cruel, cruel summer: Screening Emerging Europe

By Daniel Salter, Chief Strategist at UniCredit Securities. If this is a “normal” mid-cycle market correction, markets could soon start to find a bottom, with the S&P 18% off since its cycle high (in line with the median of fourteen 10%+ downturns for the S&P since 1975). However, if recent events (including the heated debate… Continue Reading

MDM Bank seeks Arab, Asian sovereign wealth investors

By Ivan Anderhanov. MDM Bank, Russia’s second largest private lender,  is holding talks with some Asian and Arabic sovereign investment funds, including Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and Investment Corporation of Dubai. MDM, whose shareholders include businessman Sergey Popov with a 56.3 percent stake and Igor Kim with 11 percent, may offer up to a blocking… Continue Reading

Martin Schwedler named as head of Raiffeisen Invest in Moscow

By Andrei Skvarsky. Austrian bank Raiffeisen has promoted Martin Schwedler to chief executive officer of its investment banking unit in Russia. The joint venture, owned equally by Raiffeisen Investment and ZAO “Raiffeisenbank” in Moscow, offers Russian corporate customers access to equity capital markets and M&A services. Shvedler said he plans to expand the activities of Raiffeisen’s local investment banking… Continue Reading

Raiffeisen snaps up Swedbank's Russian retail business

By Andrei Skvarsky. Raiffeisenbank has bought a Russian retail business from Swedbank, a Swedish lender with a global network which is shutting its entire retail operation in Russia. Joining the swelling ranks of foreign banks shutting their Russian retail operations, Swedbank offloaded its retail division in Kaliningrad to Raiffeisenbank and plans to sell off its remaining… Continue Reading

Kazakhstani banking: Accelerated lending coupled with jump in NPLs

By Rustam Botashev, Deputy Head of Research at UniCredit Securities. Kazakhstan’s bank supervisory committee has published 6M11 banking statistics, showing accelerating loan growth on the backdrop of deteriorating asset quality. We reiterate our Buy recommendations for Halyk Bank (12M TP of USD 14.3) and Kazkommertsbank (USD 9.6). Lending in Kazakhstan accelerated in June, with 1.3%… Continue Reading