18 May 2022 12:20

Deal to merge Otkritie with VTB to close this year - Moiseyev

MOSCOW. May 18 (Interfax) - The deal on merging Otkritie Bank with VTB is to be closed this year, Deputy Finance Minister Alexei Moiseyev told reporters in the State Duma.

Following the imposition of sanctions against the largest Russian banks, the authorities decided to merge Otkritie, which had previously planned to hold an IPO, with VTB. Moreover, Crimea's largest bank, RNCB, will enter the sphere of the VTB Group as a separate legal entity.

Moiseyev explained that RNCB simply requires a decree, while the merger of Otkritie with VTB requires a mechanism for financial interaction with the Central Bank.

"In any case, I am proceeding from the fact that the deal will be closed this year," Moiseyev said.

The sides are currently discussing technical corporate matters.

Commenting on the inclusion of Crimea-based Russian National Commercial Bank (RNKB) in the deal's perimeter, which would close any possibility of VTB returning to foreign capital markets in the future, Moiseyev said: "You know that actions aimed at implementing sanctions inside Russia are not welcomed. We are guided by what is expedient for our economy, our financial system. We generally don't care what other countries think about it."

The Central Bank has already supported the proposal to consolidate the banks. "You know that we were preparing Otkritie for sale to the market, we were working with potential investors, we had them, by the way. But now we see no possibility of selling Otkritie Bank to the market in the near future. But we understand that as a bank regulator we cannot be the owner of the bank for a long time, and in these circumstances, we need, in our opinion, a reasonable decision," Central Bank of Russia (CBR) governor Elvira Nabiullina said.

The Bank of Russia had planned to sell shares of Otkritie this year and was studying various options for the deal with investment consultants - both an IPO and selling to a strategic investor. However, the regulator suspended preparations for the sale after the start of the special operation in Ukraine and when Otkritie came under the blocking sanctions from the U.S., EU and UK.

The regulator became the owner of Otkritie in 2017, bailing it out under a new scheme - with the involvement of a specially created Bank Sector Consolidation Fund (BSCF). The bank received 456 billion rubles in capital from the regulator. The Central Bank expected to return part of the funds by selling the bank's shares on the market.