13 Dec 2010 13:56

Orient Express Bank to acquire another bank in near future

MOSCOW. Dec 13 (Interfax) - Russia's Orient Express Bank, which announced its acquisition of Santander Consumer Bank recently, plans to acquire another bank in the near future, Alexander Taranov, a shareholder and member of the bank's board of directors, told journalists.

"We are helping the Central Bank consolidate the banking system. Our strategy aims at mergers and acquisitions. Some [banks] grow organically while we are growing through mergers and acquisitions," he said.

Taranov said that the bank would acquire at least one more bank in the near future while adding that this could be a financial institution with foreign involvement. He added that the bank would be a Russian resident.

Orient Express Bank acquired 100% in Santander Consumer Bank, which is a Russian bank with foreign capital. Prior to this transaction, Spain's Santander Consumer Finance S.A. owned 100% in the bank.

He declined to identify the cost of the acquisition. However, experts earlier estimated the maximum price for the acquisition at 1.5 of Santander Bank's capital. Santander's equity at the end of the third quarter reached 1.57 billion rubles.

Taranov said that Orient Express Bank would merge with Santander. "The timing of the union is a technical issue," he said.

In addition, Taranov said that Orient Express Bank has plans for an initial public offering (IPO) but this is unlikely to take place in 2011. "The plans are there but it is unlikely for 2011," he said. He added that the bank had put off the placement after Baring Vostok fund acquired a stake in Orient Express. "Now capital is at a sufficient level," Taranov said.

Etalonbank and Dvizhenie Bank were merged with Orient Express Bank in 2009 while Kamabank and Rostpromstroibank were merged in 2010. Furthermore, the bank acquired 100% in City Mortgage Bank from Morgan Stanley in July 201.

Orient Express Bank was 46th largest bank in Russia bank assets at the end of the third quarter of 2010 according to the Interfax-100, compiled by the Interfax Center for Economic Analysis (CEA).