6 Oct 2010 14:18

Kudrin: state has made decision to sell 10% VTB stake

MOSCOW. Oct 6 (Interfax) - The state has made the decision to sell 10% of shares in VTB , Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin told journalists on Wednesday.

"The deal will be above board, transparent. It is being prepared. There has been a decision that sale of 10% can be permitted," he said.

The sale will be closed once talks with investors have concluded, he said.

"We have agreed that that is for management. They are conducting the talks. They are conducting the information policy," he said.

VTB chief Andrei Kostin said in an interview with the Financial Times that the bank was holding talks on privatizing a government stake in the bank with a broad range of potential investors, including TPG of the United States and funds from the Middle East, Asia, North Europe and Australia.

TPG has already figured on a list of potential buyers for the 10% of VTB that the government is putting up for sale: sources have named the fund as the leader of a pool of investors, but this has not been officially confirmed.

Kostin told the FT had been working with TPG for a long time and considered it to be a very good company and one of the potential investors. He told the paper that a group of investors could buy the 10%, with individual investors buying 1%-1.5% stakes.

The next two weeks will be decisive in determining whether the stake is sold this year or next, Kostin told the paper.

The government owns 85.5% of VTB, which is Russia's second biggest bank. Government officials have said on several occasions that the state was prepared to sell 10% of the bank this year.