Foreign Banks to Buy Large Stakes in Russian Banks

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Foreign Banks to Buy Large Stakes in Russian Banks

A senior Central Bank official said Friday that some large Western and Asian banks would soon acquire large stakes in several Russian banks.

Under Russian law, acquisitions of more than 20% of shares in Russian banks must be authorized by the Central Bank.

"I recently signed several letters authorizing a number of large Western and Asian banks to acquire more than 20% of shares in Russian banks," Gennady Melikyan, first deputy chairman of the Central Bank, said on the sidelines of a conference on developing banking services and infrastructure in Russia's regions.

He said the foreign banks were seeking to buy stakes in some of the 100 largest Moscow banks, but that the banks were not in the top 30.

"Our reaction to this is positive, because the participation of Western banks will lead to higher market value, and the importing of technology," the official said.

He said the share of non-residents in total fixed assets of Russian banks was just above 21%, and that many key players on the banking market would try to take advantage of the current low share prices of many Russian banks to enter the market.

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