7 Jul 2010 18:40

VEB to select Postal Bank partner by mid-August

MOSCOW. July 7 (Interfax) - Vnesheconombank (VEB) will select a partner for an ambitious project to set a Postal Bank up with Sviaz-Bank as its core in August, VEB chief Vladimir Dmitriyev told reporters.

"We're taking a two-month breather. The project has turned out much more complicated than we first thought," Dmitriyev said, adding that a decision would be reached by August 15.

Russian Standard Bank (RSBN) , Unicredit Bank and Nomos-Bank have submitted business plans to set the new bank up. UniCredit has decided not to invest in the project.

VEB said in the middle of June that it was reviewing the business plans submitted by the three contenders and that its preliminary assessment should be ready in July.

"All candidates are positive about Postal Bank's long-term prospects. At the same time they each have differing economic projections and not all of the banks that gave their visions confirmed they were prepared to act as investor," VEB said at the time.

VEB short-listed UniCredit, RSB and a consortium of Nomos-Bank and Home Credit & Finance Bank as potential partners for the Postal Bank project in March. Home Credit & Finance Bank later decided against investing in the project and Nomos-Bank now intends to invest on a standalone basis.

The partners must be prepared to make an equity investment in Postal Bank, including by buying at least 25% but not more than 50% of a supplementary share issue.

The existing Russian Post network will have to be corporatized to make the project possible at all.

Russian Post's chief, Alexander Kiselev, has said the partner's commitment to the Postal Bank project could run to billions of euros.

VEB bought Sviaz Bank for a token amount at the end of 2008 after the bank experienced difficulty servicing its clients due to liquidity problems.