Key investment themes for 2009 and outlook for 2010

Jerome Booth, Head of Research at Ashmore Investment Management comments on the global backdrop for emerging markets over the past year and forecasts an encouraging future for EM asset classes. Reviewing some of the key themes in 2009: · Whilst there was global disruption to cross-border finance, the main negative impact on selected emerging countries… Continue Reading

Goldman goes long (and late) on Russian equities

By Marcus Williams Research strategists at Goldman Sachs are going long on Russian equities in 2010 on the basis that the country’s growth rate will rebound sharply. Goldman is forecasting that real GDP will rebound to +4.5% in 2010 and accelerate later in the year after a steep 9.5% decline this year. Compared with other… Continue Reading

Donsikh steps down from the top job at UralSib

By Ivan Anderzhanov in Moscow Andrey Donskikh, chairman of UralSib Financial Corporation,  has stepped down from the bank’s top position. Donskih, who will retain ties in the group on its supervisory board and as chairman of the group’s holding structure, will be replaced by the current deputy chairman of the board Ildar Muslimov, who oversees… Continue Reading

EBRD boosts Russian banking sector with Promsvyaz deal

By Ivan Anderzhanov in Moscow The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has confirmed it will buy a 11.7 % stake in Russia’s privately-owned PromSvyazBank for 4.6 billion roubles ($159.4m). Reports had been circulating since mid-October the the EBRD would take a minority stake in PromSvyaz. Brothers Alexey and Dmitry Ananiev own almost 85%… Continue Reading

Pharos $350m agriculture fund targets Middle East investors

By Jason Corcoran Pharos Financial Advisors today launched a $350m private equity fund focused on acquiring and operating land in Eastern Europe, Eurasia and Africa. Pharos, a Russian-based investment firm which expanded to Dubai last year, is expecting to raise more than half of the fund from investors in the Middle East. The Pharos Miro… Continue Reading

COMMENT Russia 2010: Worth A Tactical Look

By James Beadle, Global & Emerging Market Strategist, Market-Melange.com Russia’s under-performance relative to its BRIC peers is justified and well-explained. Yet, it also creates upside potential. Russia is beginning a new development phase, which creates opportunity and makes it an attractive buy for 2010. The potential for decisive progress is limited and many systematic problems… Continue Reading

Belgium's KBC to sell Russia's Absolut bank

By Ivan Anderzhanov in Moscow Belgian financial group KBC Group is looking to sell Absolut Bank only two years after acquiring its key Russian asset for $1bn. Analysts suggested that the most likely buyer would be another foreign group keen to gain access to the Russian banking sector. KBC needs to slash the size of… Continue Reading

Rencap hires Igor Kamenskoy as chairman of the board

By Ivan Anderzhanov in Moscow Renaissance Capital today announced the appointment of a senior politician Igor Kamenskoy as chairman of the board. A long-serving member of the Federation Council, Russia’s upper house of Parliament, Kamenskoy will oversee Renaissance’s relationships with Russian government agencies and regulators as well as state corporations. Kamenskoy’s appointment will become effective… Continue Reading

Exclusive: LSE Russian team sees future for dual listings

By Jason Corcoran in Moscow The London Stock Exchange believes dual Russian stock listings in Moscow and London will endure in spite of plans to curb the amount firms can sell overseas. The new rules, which are due to come into force from January 1, aim to restrict domestic companies from running to foreign exchanges… Continue Reading

JP Morgan and Alfa lose out as Eurasia Drilling pulls GDR placement

By Ivan Anderzhanov in Moscow Russian oil industry services firm Eurasia Drilling yesterday annouced it had cancelled plans to place Global Depositary Receipts (GDRs) after bids failed to match its expectations. Investment bankers at JP Morgan and Alfa Bank will lose out having been mandated as joint bookrunners. JP Morgan was also the sole global… Continue Reading

Hermitage lawyer Sergey Magnitskiy dies in Russian prison

By Jason Corcoran in Moscow A lawyer jailed on charges of helping William Browder’s Hermitage Capital Management evade taxes has died in a Moscow detention centre’s hospital. Sergey Magnitskiy, 37, died yesterday at 9.50pm in Matrosskaya Tishina pre-trial detention centre in Moscow of apparent toxic shock and heart failure. Magnitsky, a 37-year-old partner at Moscow… Continue Reading

MSCI adds Inter RAO and Sberbank to its emerging markets index

By Ivan Anderzhanov MSCI added Inter RAO and Sberbank’s preference shares to its emerging  markets index yesterday in place of Rostelecom and Transneft shares. Sberbank’s preferred shares were first added to the index in 2006 but were removed following a drop in the company’s market capitalisation. Sberbank’s weight in the emerging-markets index will be 0.06%,… Continue Reading

COMMENT: Russian banks: back to the future

By Rustam Botashev, equities analyst at UniCredit Securities Pre-crisis profits already priced in for VTB, but Sberbank and VZRZ still have room for positive surprises VTB promises to reach pre-crisis profits in 2010; we see this as possible for all banks under coverage. Bankers are suddenly talking about making solid earnings in 2010E; VTB even… Continue Reading

COMMENT: Russian Reform – A Realistic Prospect?

By James Beadle, Global & Emerging Market Strategist, Market-Melange.com Recent reports of Kremlin-infighting are partially accurate. Expect sharp swings in investor sentiment, creating good opportunities to make money, but no radical changes to Russia’s economic & political system. Although the mass-media remain sceptical, in-depth analytical sources and business intelligence groups – such as Stratfor –… Continue Reading

Otkritie continues hiring spree

By Ivan Anderzhanov Russian brokerage firm Otkritie has continued its hiring spree by recruiting Alexander Zakharov as director of international sales in Moscow. Zakharov, who was previously deputy head of equities at Metropol, takes on a new role to oversee efforts to work with institutional clients in continental Europe. He had joined Metropol in 2007… Continue Reading

'Anyone investing in Russia today is out of their mind,' warns Browder

By Jason Corcoran in Moscow Famed Russian fund manager Bill Browder has warned students of his alma mater at Stanford in the US that anyone investing in Russia now “is completely out of their mind.” Browder, who established Hermitage Capital in 1996, was once the largest foreign owner of Russian stock. His visa was revoked… Continue Reading

VTB Capital to roadshow PPP waste plant in London

By Ivan Anderzhanov in Moscow VTB Capital in conjunction with the St Petersburg government is to hold a roadshow in London for the public private partnership (PPP) Yanino waste processing plant. Financial, legal and technical advisors for the City of St Petersburg are VTB Capital, DLA Piper and Arup respectively. The  project for the 350… Continue Reading

Saxo acquires trading and IT expertise in India and the Ukraine

By Ivan Anderzhanov Saxo Bank, the online trading and investment specialist, has today announced the acquisition of a 40% stake in Initto, the Danish owned software provider with 200 staff located mainly in India and Ukraine. The company said the acquisition of Initto will enable it continue to support and speed up the development of… Continue Reading

Lukoil mandates Barcap, RBS and ING for $1.5bn Eurobond

By Jason Corcoran in Moscow Russian oil giant Lukoil has returned to the debt capital markets for the first time in 18  months yesterday with a bumper $1.5bn Eurobond deal arranged by Barcap, Royal Bank of Scotland and ING. Lukoil priced two tranches of debt, maturing in five and 10 years. The five-year tranche, worth… Continue Reading

VEB to flip $7.8bn back onto the Russian stock market ?

By Jason Corcoran in Moscow State development agency VEB is in talks with the Finance Ministry over flipping its estimated $7.8bn porfolio of stakes in Russian blue-chips back onto the stock market. Vedomosti today quoted a source close to VEB as saying that it would be rational for the agency to gradually sell shares in… Continue Reading

EBRD teams up with Kayzna to launch $300m private equity fund

By Jason Corcoran Kazyna Capital Management, the private equity arm of Kazakhstan’s sovereign wealth fund, is combining with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) to set up a $300m vehicle to invest in distressed companies. The fund will focus on financing of companies experiencing problems with repaying their debt. Its main task will… Continue Reading

Exclusive: Prosperity Capital to launch new Quest fund vehicle

By Jason Corcoran in Moscow Prosperity Capital Management, the largest Russian portfolio manager, is setting up a new  recovery vehicle in a bid to capture the spectacular 41% annualised returns achieved by the original Quest fund launched in 1999. The Prosperity Capital Quest II special situations fund will target restructurings and consolidation opportunities in Russia’s… Continue Reading

COMMENT: Tymoshenko announces resolution roadmap for Ukraine's two large banks

By Yevhen Hrebeniuk, Senior Analyst at Troika Dialog Ukraine Ukraine’s Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko has outlined the resolution approaches that are set to be approved by the cabinet and applied to the two remaining large banks that have yet to be recapitalized: Nadra Bank and Ukrprombank. The government will transfer Ukrprombank’s deposits and valuable assets… Continue Reading

Standard Bank raises $1bn from Chinese banks for Asian expansion

By Ivan Anderzhanov in Moscow Standard Bank, the emerging markets banking group, has raised $1bn loan facility with four major Chinese banks in Macau today. The four banks are Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (Macau) Limited; Bank of China; China Development Bank and China CITIC Bank. The club deal was self arranged by Standard… Continue Reading

Aganbegyan switches CEO for President post at RenCap / Credit Suisse hires senior investment banker from Merrill

By Ivan Anderzhanov in Moscow. Renaissance Capital’s rainmaker Ruben Aganbegyan has relinquished his role as chief executive of the investment bank after being appointed yesterday as its president. A RenCap spokesman said Aganbegyan appointment was a promotion and would not dilute his position as its key client and government relationship banker. Aganbegyan, who joined the… Continue Reading