VTB sets Minimum Bid Price for its Share Offering

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Russia's state-controlled foreign trade bank Vneshtorgbank (VTB) said Thursday the minimum price of bids for its share offering will total 30,000 rubles (about $1,153), RIA Novosti reported.

In compliance with the government's decision, Vneshtorgbank, which is Russia's second largest bank in terms of assets, approved last December the placement of additional shares worth 90-120 billion rubles (about $3.5-4.6 billion) through open subscription on the Russian market and abroad in the first half of 2007.

Vneshtorgbank CEO Andrei Kostin earlier said VTB would begin accepting applications from individuals for its initial public offering (IPO) from April 9 through May 7.

VTB said on its Web site it will publish bid invitations to indicate the term for submitting applications. On the last day of this term, the price of the share offering will be announced, VTB said.

Before bid invitations are published, VTB will notify its shareholders of the possibility to exercise their pre-emptive rights during the IPO, the bank said.

The government of Russia is VTB's key shareholder, holding 99.9% of its stock. After the share placement, the government's stake in Vneshtorgbank will drop to 75% plus one share.

VTB's IPO follows the share offering by state-run retail savings bank Sberbank.

Sberbank held its domestic rights offering of 3.5 million new shares at 89,000 rubles (about $3,396) per share through open subscription between February 22 and March 24 to raise 230.24 billion rubles (about $8.86 billion) to meet growing demand for loans, the bank's press office earlier said.

Overall, Sberbank placed 2,586,948 shares or 73.9% of its new share offering, the bank's press office said.

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