24 Jul 2009 12:04

Govt eases FAS requirements for banks

MOSCOW. July 23 (Interfax) - The Russian government has once again raised the bank asset threshold that triggers disclosure requirements with the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS).

The government resolution containing the change (N591) was approved on July 17.

When a bank acquires or merges with another bank, it must notify the FAS if the combined value of assets exceeds 24 billion rubles, up from 14 billion rubles previously.

FAS clearance is now required for deals in bank shares or assets, if the value of the assets exceeds 6 billion rubles, up from 4 billion rubles previously.

A bank must also receive FAS approval if its contribution to the capital of a commercial organization being formed exceeds 6 billion rubles (4 billion rubles previously).

Banks whose asset value is below 24 billion rubles must inform the FAS of an acquisition or merger with another bank no later than 45 days after the deal was concluded (14 billion rubles previously).

The government annually approves the new asset benchmarks on the recommendation of the FAS and upon the consent of the Central Bank in accordance with data on the pace of growth of combined assets at the banks in the preceding year.

The combined value of assets at Russian banks rose 39.2% in 2008, according to Central Bank data. Meanwhile, the value of bank assets in merger and acquisition deals increased 71.4% and the value of deals to acquire bank stakes was up 50%.

Last year the limits were raised for acquisition of bank stakes (by 33% to 4 billion rubles from 3 billion rubles) and for mergers and acquisitions (by 40% to 14 billion rubles from 10 billion rubles). Total assets at Russian banks had risen 44.1% in 2007, according to Central Bank data.