VTB-led group buys ad firm from Murdoch’s scandal-ridden News Corp

By Andrei Skvarsky.   A VTB Capital-led group of investors has bought advertising company News Outdoor Russia from Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.   VTB’s partners in the deal were NOOH Investments Cooperatief and Marathon Outdoor Cooperatief. The former represented the interests of US entrepreneur Peter Gerwe, who has been building media companies in Russia and… Continue Reading

UralSib’s insurance arm to have state interest privatised

By Andrei Skvarsky. UralSib Insurance Group, part of Russian bank UralSib, is going to have minority state interest in it privatised through a public auction. The 1.53m shares would be sold en bloc, with the asking price for the stake set at 51.3m rubles ($1.8m), under an order by the Federal Agency for the Management… Continue Reading

Russia’s AMT Bank struck off

By Andrei Skvarsky. Moscow’s AMT Bank, until 2009 co-owned by major Kazakh lender BTA, has had its licence annulled by Russia’s Central Bank with effect from today. AMT has been failing to comply with “federal laws regulating banking activities” and presenting false accounts, the Central Bank said in a statement. UniCredit analyst Rustam Botashev said… Continue Reading

Ukraine arrests head of financial regulator

By Andrei Skvarsky.   The head of Ukraine’s financial markets regulator, Vasyl Volha, has been arrested on the suspicion of “a corruption-related crime”, the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office has announced.   The office did not elaborate but media reports say the chief of the State Regulatory Commission for Financial Services Markets is accused of accepting… Continue Reading

Soloviev and Moos buy stakes in VTB

By Andrei Skvarsky. The VTB group, Russia’s second biggest lender, has sold stakes of 0.003% to its deputy president Herbert Moos and VTB Capital chief executive Yuri Soloviev. The two stakes are the biggest chunks of VTB to be owned by top managers of the group. VTB president Andrei Kostin holds 0.0018% interest in the… Continue Reading

VTB announces “strategic investment” in Deripaska firm

By Andrei Skvarsky. Russia’s VTB Capital has bought a 4.35% stake in energy-related firm En+ Group from oligarch Oleg Deripaska’s Basic Element, an acquisition described by VTB as a “strategic investment”. VTB said in a statement it had paid $500m for the stake. “We believe that En+ has an immense growth potential that is primarily… Continue Reading

GOLDMAN SACHS COMMENT: Who would you want in EMU?

 By Jim O’Neill, Chairman, Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Western sovereign debt issues rolled on again last week, with fierce competition between the US and the Euro Area for attention. As President Obama and Congress struggle to reach a budget compromise ahead of the debt ceiling deadline, two ratingagencies made it clear that failure to make… Continue Reading

GOLDMAN SACHS COMMENT: A messy start to July

By Jim O’Neill, Chairman, Goldman Sachs Asset Management. Just when it seemed things were shifting back to the optimists’ camp, Friday’s news about the state of the world threw another spanner in the works. In addition to a very disappointing US nonfarm payrolls report, Italy came into the spotlight in the European crisis. Subsequently, the earliest of the June… Continue Reading

EXCLUSIVE: HSBC hires Zhukov from Nomura as head of research

By Andrei Skvarsky. HSBC has hired Vladimir Zhukov from Nomura as head of research in ramping up its investment banking arm in Moscow after deciding to sell its retail operations in Russia. Zhukov confirmed to EmergingMarkets.me that he had started work as head of Russian equity research and metals and mining analyst at the British bank,… Continue Reading

Troika Dialog launches Internet-focused fund

Bt Andrei Skvarsky. Russian brokerage Troika Dialog has launched a fund to capitalise on booming investor appetite for Russian Internet and high-tech companies. The Troika Dialog Global Internet open-ended retail fund, which aims to achieve mid-term capital appreciation, will invest in Russian, foreign and global firms, Troika said in a statement. Yandex, operator of Russia’s… Continue Reading

Renaissance hires Cherny from Interros, Goldman's Barinstein

By Andrei Skvarsky. Russian brokerage Renaissance Capital has hired two senior bankers to cover operations in Russia, the CIS and Central and Eastern Europe. Anton Cherny has joined as the London-based head of business development. He worked for Renaissance as head of capital markets from 2005 to 2008, having previously held a senior corporate finance… Continue Reading

Third Rome's Kogan joins Moscow Partners broker

By Andrei Skvarsky. Former Third Rome senior partner Yevgeny Kogan has become managing director and a partner at Moscow Partners, an investment firm that plans a major advance into financial markets after years of relatively low activity. Kogan left Third Rome on June 30 over strategic differences with the top management of the Moscow-based wealth… Continue Reading

EXCLUSIVE: Otkritie hires ex-Central Bank economist

By Andrei Skvarsky. Russian brokerage Otkritie has hired Polina Badasen, a former economist at the Russian Central Bank, as an economist for Russia and the CIS. Badasen’s duties at the Central Bank included recommendations for exchange rate and interest rate policies and liquidity forecasts for the banking sector. In her Otkritie job, Badasen backs up… Continue Reading

GUEST COMMENT: Khodorkovsky Trial Exposes Reform Progress

By James Beadle from Market-Melange.com Since 2003 former Yukos executives Mikhail Khodorkovsky and Platon Lebedev have been incarcerated in Russia on charges of tax evasion. At present, as their eight year stint enters its final stages, the two are on trial once more, charged with stealing millions of tonnes of oil (reputedly the same oil… Continue Reading

Swedish investment firm closing its Russia real estate fund

By Andrei Skvarsky Stockholm-based investment company East Capital Explorer has decided to close its real estate fund for Russia as the unit has received no investments since it opened in July 2008. When the global financial crisis broke out, the company, whose area of operations is Eastern Europe, decided to keep its Russian Property Fund… Continue Reading

Nick Jordan makes a comeback as head of UBS

By Ivan Anderzhanov Nick Jordan, the former head of Lehman Brothers in Moscow, has made a surprising comeback as the head of Russia and CIS for Swiss bank UBS. Jordan, who was allegedly brought to Lehman from Deutsche Bank for $10m over years, had been in limbo for the past year after losing out in… Continue Reading

Rencap’s Aganbegyan quits Rencap to join Micex

By Ivan Anderzhanov Ruben Aganbegyan, the former president of Renaissance Capital, is leaving the investment bank to takeover as president at Micex, the largest Russian stock exchange. Aganbegyan, who was demoted in February this year following a shake-up by Rencap  founder Stephen Jennings, will take up his new role  on June 21. He replaces Konstantin… Continue Reading

Barclays considers selling Russian banks to Renaissance

By Ivan Anderzahnov UK bank Barclays may offload its Russian regional retail banking network to a unit of Renaissance Group. Barclays is in talks about selling 12 regional branches to Renaissance Credit, the consumer finance arm of the investment banking group Renaissance, according to Russian daily Kommersant. The British giant acquired Russian lender Expobank in… Continue Reading

EXCLUSIVE: Sberbank hires Romaev as head of new debt unit

By Andrei Skvarsky Russia’s largest lender Sberbank has hired Dmitry Romaev as head of its new debt capital markets unit for Central and Eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA) from Otkritie. Romaev, who was previously chief financial officer at Otkritie, said the unit had already hired three other bankers to work on large… Continue Reading

Half of Russian bankers not paid bonuses, report

By Ivan Anderzhanov More than half of Russian bankers were not paid a bonus for last year, according to a survey of 160 foreign and domestic financial institutions by recruiter Antal Russia. Just 47 percent of bankers got 2009 payouts which were doled out in the spring of this year. Many financiers were paid nothing… Continue Reading

Exclusive: Deutsche Bank back in the hiring game in Russia ?

By Andrei Skvarsky Deutsche Bank has recently hired Igor Sorokin from Troika Dialog, appointing him as vice president in charge of structuring. The German bank seems to be back in the market for new hires following yesterday’s announcement of two analyst hires, George Buzhenitsa and Natalia Smirnova, from UniCredit Securities. Other rivals have so far… Continue Reading

Fund Flows: Sentiment is Finely (Dangerously) Balanced

By Chris Weafer, Chief Strategist at UralSib Capital Waiting for clarity. Fund investors appear to have taken a sanguine view of global market volatility over the past week. They have remained largely on the sidelines while waiting for a clearer picture to emerge. According to the data supplied by EPFR Global, in the week ended… Continue Reading

Troika Dialog: the best investment bank in Russia ?

By Ivan Anderzhanov Troika Dialog has been awarded the gong of best investment bank in Russia in the recent Global Finance awards. In a statement, Troika said it currently leads Russian debt capital market league tables in terms of volume, number of issues and market share. Last we checked, VTB Capital may have had some… Continue Reading

Exclusive: VTB hires Jaeckel as deputy head of quant research

By Andrei Skvarsky Russia’s VTB Capital bank has recently hired Peter Jaeckel as deputy head of quantitative research at its London office. Jaeckel combines the job with the position as managing director of OTC Analytics, a British-based financial derivatives analysis company he has founded after a four-year stint as a senior analyst with ABN AMRO.… Continue Reading

BofA Merrill Lynch boost EMEA research with three hires

By Marcus Williams BofA Merrill Lynch  has beefed up its EMEA research platform with three hires as part of a new EMEA economics and fixed income strategy group. Arko Sen joins the group with seven years of experience in emerging EMEA fixed income strategy, most recently at Barclays Capital, along with Jean-Michel  Saliba who has… Continue Reading

COMMENT: Government mulls protectionist moves to protect industries from ruble strength

By Vladimir Osakovsky, Head of Macroeconomic Analysis and Research at Unicredit Securities Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said that the Russian government might raise import tariffs and subsidize industries to keep Russian industry competitive, Bloomberg reports. He said that the ruble is likely to appreciate over the next several years and the government… Continue Reading