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  Monday, August 15, 2022
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Russian analysts propose that Vneshtorgbank should be privatised through a primary placement of its shares
Russian analysts propose that Vneshtorgbank should be privatised through a primary placement of its shares. They made this proposal Wednesday at a round table discussion on the BankYear Results. In the opinion of Garegin Tosunyan, president of the Russian Banks Association, the primary placement of shares is an effective way for privatising major banks. Meanwhile, the Russian government is planning to privatise Vneshtorgbank through the introduction of strategic foreign investors into the bank's capital. Tosunyan is convinced that "the sale of a controlling share packet to foreign investors is not the best possible way." He explained that if large stakes in two or three major Russian banks were sold all at once, the foreign companies' share in the Russian banks' aggregate capital could sharply rise from the present 7% to 40-50%. At the same time, in the event of the primary placement of Vneshtorgbank's shares on the Russian market, "many would gladly buy these shares", Tosunyan said. Alexander Shokhin, president of the Higher School of Economics, is of the same opinion. "It is a normal technique to publicly place shares and thus carry out privatisation by using a transparent scheme," Shokhin said. Shokhin does not agree with those who believe that no buyers for Vneshtorgbank's shares could be found in Russia. He means both strategic and portfolio investors. Alexander Shokhin cited Yuganskneftegaz's case as an example: few people believed that Yuganskneftegaz could be bought by Russian investors. "If Russian companies which are not part of the financial sector display interest in banking business, this means that a Russian strategic investor can be found," he said. Shokhin also expressed misgivings that one of the possible foreign investors, i.e., the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, might replace its share by that of other private investors upon its entry into Vneshtorgbank's capital
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