6 Oct 2010 18:29

MICEX plans offer to RTS shareholders - sources

MOSCOW. Oct 6 (Interfax) - MICEX plans to make an offer to purchase shares in the RTS exchange, several market sources told Interfax on Tuesday.

One of the sources said the offer might be made before the end of October. Another said MICEX planned to make the proposal this month.

VTB Capital is the consultant for the potential offer.

The sources did not say how much MICEX would offer, but one said that the price would be "a compromise:" on the one hand the offer must be high enough to interest the RTS shareholders, but on the other MICEX's shareholders are state-owned organizations and do not have the right to pay a premium.

The sources also did not know whether the purchases would be paid with cash or stock.

One way the MICEX shareholders might use their state connections to advantage in the talks involves the Central Depositary, whose creation is a priority in terms of developing financial market infrastructure.

"If the regulators make the decision that the National Depositary Center will be the Central Depositary, that will damage RTS share prices," one of the sources said.

A source at the Central Bank confirmed to Interfax that moves are afoot to merge the exchanges. He did not elaborate.

Discussion of a potential merger of the two biggest Russian exchanges intensified this spring in connection with creating the infrastructure for the international financial center. Specifically, the potential deal was discussed by Sergei Shvetsov, the head of the Central Bank's department for financial market operations and a member of the MICEX board of directors.

MICEX shareholders include the Central Bank with 29.8%. Vnesheconombank (VEB), while Sberbank Russia and VTB own significant stakes (the four banks own a combined 56.7% of shares).

The main shareholders in OJSC RTS Stock Exchange are Troika Dialog - 10%, KIT Finance - 10%, Alfa Bank - 9.6%, Aton - 9.8%, Deutsche Securities - 9%, and Renaissance Broker - 8.2%, while ING and Citibank are the nominal holders of 11.4% and 5.5% respectively. Two foreign investment funds, Da Vinci Capital and Artio, are among the shareholders.

A federal law that restricted ownership by any one shareholder in RTS to no more than 20% of shares was recently annulled.