Russia’s Largest Bank Postpones $8 Billion Share Offering After Billionaire’s Crash in France
Business & Finance
Russian state-owned Sberbankâ€™s supervisory board postponed a decision on a share issue that would be worth $8.7 billion at current prices, a senior finance ministry official told Reuters.
He added that details could be finalized within two weeks. No date for the board’s next meeting has yet been set.
Savatiugin said both the method of share issue and its volume would be discussed, but refused to give further details.
About 37 percent of Sberbank shares are in the hands of private investors, including billionaire Suleiman Kerimov, who is in a Marseille hospital after suffering burns when he crashed his sports car on the French Riviera last weekend.
Kerimov is believed to control about 6 percent of Sberbank shares through his investment firm Nafta Moskva, but he is not represented on the supervisory council.
Russian Economy Minister German Gref said he wanted to postpone discussion, adding that the ministry supported the issue and the amount but wanted to finalize the mechanism of the placement.
The supervisory board, staffed by top officials including Gref and Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin, was due to decide on Tuesday whether to approve the issue of 3.5 million new shares.
Sberbank has not disclosed the exact size of the planned issue but its president, Andrei Kazmin, has said it will be less than $10 billion.
Business daily Vedomosti on Tuesday quoted sources familiar with documents prepared for the meeting as saying the amount would not fall far short of that. Two supervisory board members told the paper that the issue would involve a public offering of 3.5 million shares, to be sold only in Russia.
The state, represented by the central bank, is a majority shareholder in Sberbank, creating a potential conflict of interests when the banking sector regulator is also owner of the largest bank.
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