Exclusive: UBS, Credit Suisse interested in advising on Russia privatization - sources

Tue Mar 29, 2016 9:23am EDT
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By Katya Golubkova, Olga Popova and Oksana Kobzeva

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Swiss banks UBS and Credit Suisse are interested in advising the Russian government on several privatizations as long as the deals do not violate sanctions, three banking sources told Reuters.

The banks responded to a request for proposals that the Russian Economy Ministry sent to Russian and foreign banks this month for advisory roles in the planned sales of a 50.08 percent stake in oil firm Bashneft (BANE.MM: Quote) and 10.9 percent stakes in both diamond miner Alrosa ALRS.MM and lender VTB (VTBR.MM: Quote).

Bankers have previously told Reuters that Western investments banks with Russian operations are reluctant to advise Moscow on planned privatizations as they are worried about the consequences of violating Western sanctions imposed on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine.

However, three bankers told Reuters that UBS UBSG.VX and Credit Suisse CSGN.VX were among banks that responded to the request. A fourth banking source said that Italy's UniCredit (CRDI.MI: Quote) had also answered the RFP.

"I heard that the Swiss were saying that they will take part if no sanctions are broken," a senior Western banker said. The banker and other banking sources said no U.S. bank has responded to the RFP.

Spokeswomen for Credit Suisse and UBS and a spokesman for UniCredit all declined to comment.

U.S. banks Goldman Sachs (GS.N: Quote), JP Morgan (JPM.N: Quote), Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi (C.N: Quote) and Morgan Stanley (MS.N: Quote) were among Western banks that received RFPs, along with European peers including Deutsche Bank (DBKGn.DE: Quote), Barclays (BARC.L: Quote), Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L: Quote), BNP Paribas (BNPP.PA: Quote), Societe Generale (SOGN.PA: Quote) and Raiffeisen (RBIV.VI: Quote).

Russian Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said last week that three banks should lead the privatization process set for later this year, with one or two more banks helping to run the deals. He said that Western banks had responded to the RFPs but did not name them. A spokeswoman for the economy ministry declined to name the banks.   Continued...

A branch of Swiss bank UBS is seen in the mountain resort of St. Moritz, Switzerland March 15, 2016.  REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann   -