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 His visa was revoked… Continue Reading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

COMMENT: Government expects the start of economic recovery in 2H09

Vladimir Osakovsky,  Head of Strategy and Research at Unicredit Securities at Moscow. Russian Minister of Economic Development Elvira Nabiullina said that the Russian economy is ready to recover and expects real GDP to grow by 3.9%-4.5% hoh in 2H09, Vedomosti reports. Nabiullina’s comments come after similar optimistic statements from First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov… Continue Reading

Barclays scoop up VTB CFO to lead its Russia business

Jason Corcoran in Moscow British bank Barclays has hired Nikolai Tsekhomsky as chief executive from Russian state bank VTB to head up its global retail and commercial banking business in Russia. Tsekhomsky, who has only just stepped down today from VTB after four years as its chief financial officer, will takeover from Sergey Radchenkov, who… Continue Reading

BTA wins injunction to freeze assets of former top managers

By Ivan Anderzhanov in Moscow The English High Court has granted troubled Kazakh bank BTA a worldwide freezing injunction against the assets of former chairman Mukhtar Ablyazov and other former top managers. The bank said in a press statement that it has started legal proceedings in the High Court against Ablyazov, Roman Solodchenko, the former… Continue Reading

Alfa Bank merges investment bank with its corporate bank

By Jason Corcoran in Moscow Russia’s Alfa Bank is merging its investment bank with its corporate bank into one division. The new unit will be aimed at increasing Alfa’s ability to sell products ranging from loans to advice on takeovers to its 40,000 plus corporate clients. The move mirrors a decision taken by Citigroup in… Continue Reading

COMMENT: Russian issuers face up to onerous new limits on foreign IPOs

New Russian foreign listing rules could hike the cost of equity capital for Russia companies at a time when many of them are over-leveraged and starved for equity financing, according to the Corporate Department of Latham & Watkins in Moscow. In June 2009, the Russian Federal Service for the Financial Markets (FSFM) published proposed amendments… Continue Reading

VEB cleared to invest in non-sovereign bonds by November

By Ivan Anderzhanov in Moscow Russia’s state development bank Vnesheconombank (VEB) will be allowed to purchase non-government bonds by November, according to new rules expected to be approved by the government shortly. The new rules will enable VEB to increase its portfolio allocation of non-sovereign bonds to 40%. The credit rating of the bonds, other… Continue Reading

COMMENT: Watch Kazakhstan for Russian banks’ path out of crisis

By Rustam Botashev, Equity Analyst at Unicredit Securities Total non-performing loans (NPLs) in Kazakhstan reached 30.8% as of 1 July, but a more manageable 14.4% excluding BTA and Alliance, and we expect a gradual economic recovery to keep banks from being washed away in an NPL flood. The aggregate 30.8% figure is skewed by the… Continue Reading

COMMENT: Russia’s equity market – rising like a phoenix

Angelika Millendorfer, Head of Emerging Markets Equities at Raiffeisen Capital Management. Russia’s equity market was one of the biggest losers last year. But since the beginning of 2009, it has been one of the top performers even though a strong correction swept the market in June and July. So far prices are up by around… Continue Reading