19 Jun 2010 16:19

Kostin sees possibility of reducing state stake in VTB within year

ST. PETERSBURG. June 19 (Interfax) - The president and CEO of VTB , Andrei Kostin, sees the possibility of reducing the state's stake in VTB capital over the course of the coming year.

"I am studying the possibility. If the market allows, the state might want to do that. My goal right now is to look at investors and their demand. Because there are grounds for increasing the free float, for example," Kostin told Interfax on the sidelines of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum.

Asked whether he thought it possible for the state to reduce its stake in VTB, Kostin said: "Why not?"

The state is currently prohibited from reducing its stake below 50%. "There is a presidential decree that says 50% must be left [to the state]. It can operate within the constraints of that decree," he said.

"The government decides. It's their stake. The state had 77%, then it was 85%. If they want to reduce it, they can recover the money that was invested in the past. For now it's something to think about," he said.

VTB is currently conducting a non-deal road show. It held meetings in Asia (Hong Kong, Singapore, Ho Chi Minh City) on June 7-9. Top management will meet with investors in the U.S. and Europe on June 19-23, in London, New York and Boston.

The state currently owns 85.5% of VTB shares.