Russia Sberbank sees sale certainty after government formed

Sat May 19, 2012 4:11pm EDT
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By Gleb Bryanski

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Europe's second largest lender Russia's Sberbank (SBER.MM: Quote) will see some certainty over the planned privatization sale after the new Russian government's lineup is announced on May 21, CEO German Gref said on Saturday.

Sberbank initially planned the sale of the 7.6 percent stake, part of Russia's ambitious privatization program, last September but postponed the deal after global risk aversion wiped around $1.5 billion off the stake's value.

"It seems to me that, yes, such certainty should emerge (after the cabinet announcement)," Gref said. "As soon as the market stabilizes, we can go ahead with the deal."

Russian president Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev will announce the lineup in the Kremlin on Monday after secretive negotiations which kept the investors in suspense over the future government's policies.

The new government is expected to focus on privatization and reduce the state share in the economy, currently estimated by economists at 50 percent.

Sberbank shares fell by up to 9 percent on May 17, their biggest intraday fall so far in 2012. Gref said the share price plummeted because two unidentified investors suffered from margin calls.

The stake destined for privatization is now worth $4.3 billion.


CEO of Russian Sberbank Herman Gref attends a plenary session of the World Economic Forum in Vienna June 8, 2011. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger