Alfa-Bank announces financial results for 2013

Alfa Banking Group, which includes Alfa-Bank and its subsidiaries, today reported audited IFRS financial results for the full year 2013.

Net profit of the Alfa Banking Group for the period amounted to USD 900 million (2012 — USD 829 million) which is the highest reported annual profit in the history of Alfa Banking Group. Return on average equity constituted 20.1%. Total equity increased by 16.0% to USD 4.8 billion after a USD 150 million dividends. Alfa Banking Group maintained a capital adequacy ratio under IFRS of 16.7% (December 31, 2012 — 15.6%). 

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Russia Increases Its Gold Holding

Russia continues its gold buying spree when it expanded its gold reserves to 1,015.5 tons, a 12.7 metric ton increase according to the data showed by the International Monetary Fund.

Gold has always been seen as a form of hedge against competing currencies in times of economic depression. Therefore, purchasing gold and keeping it as portion of their resources are efforts done by countries with high purchasing power. As of September 25, gold price amounted to $1,334.02 an ounce at 9 AM, Bullion Vault data showed. Gold prices are foreseen to increase around 7.5% this quarter. 

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Stephen Jennings Steps Down From RenCap

Stephen Jennings, a Moscow based financier, and once the New Zealand’s richest man, steps down from the investment bank Renaissance Capital, which he helped to create seventeen years ago, after his bid to raise more capital for the money-losing bank was rebuffed by Mikhail Prokhorov.

According to the statement issued on November, 14th, 2012, Prokhorov’s Onexim Group, which bought 50% of RenCap during the crisis of 2008, is now acquiring the remaining half. Once the transaction has been finalized, Onexim will become the indirect shareholder of 100% of Renaissance Financial Holdings Limited (“RFHL”), the investment bank operating internationally under the name Renaissance Capital, and indirect owner of 89% of RCISL, the consumer finance bank operating in Russia under the name Renaissance Credit. 

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Veteran Russia bear Jim Rogers takes Moscow job

Veteran investor Jim Rogers, a well-known Russia bear, appears to have had a change of heart: He’s taken a job as an advisor to the agricultural fund run by Russian state-owned banking group VTB .

Rogers, who long steered clear of Russia, said in a statement issued on Tuesday by VTB: “Russia and the [Commonwealth of Independent States] region have all the ingredients needed to become the world’s agriculture powerhouse. It seems that everything may now be coming together under VTB Capital to make this happen, so I am keen to participate.” 

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Volksbanken Has Approved Sale of Its Russian Business to Sberbank

Supervisory board of Volksbanken group has approved sale of its Eastern-European branch (VBI) to Sberbank, the group member confirmed this thursday, Russian newspaper Vedomosti reports.

Volksbanken has agreed with Sberbank on sale of its domestic branch in July, several hours before it has been announced that the bank failed to pass the stress-test. Sberbank is planning to close the deal before the end of 2011. 

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Bank of Moscow president is looking for political asylum in London

One more ‘political victim’ has found himself looking for political asylum in London, following other Russian businessmen claiming to be wrongfully convicted by state authorities. Bank of Moscow president Andrei Borodin is unlikely to follow the scenario he draw himself — to get back to Russia “as soon as he will recover his health condition”. The proposition was made by another Russian disgraced oligarch Boris Berezovsky in the conversation with The Daily Mail reporter.

Berezovsky can be right, as pure statistical numbers would show that Andrei Borodin can face something else rather than a warm welcome upon his return, if and when it would occur. 

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VTB purchases the Moscow city government’s stake in Bank of Moscow

VTB purchased a 46.48% stake in Bank of Moscow (BoM) and a 25%+1 share in SSG (which controls 17.3% of BoM) from the city’s government on Tuesday, Vedomosti reports.

VTB paid RUB 103bn for the stake, implying a RUB 203bn valuation for the whole bank – a 14% increase over the city’s previous valuation of RUB 178bn, but below the RUB 240-280bn target announced by BoM President Andrei Borodin on Monday. 

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Situation around Bank of Moscow escalates

The Bank of Moscow (BoM) board of directors canceled its decision to re-elect its president at a shareholders meeting on 4 March, Vedomosti reports. The board selected 3 May for the AGM, during which a new president is to be elected. 

Two candidates are listed: current president Andrey Borodin, and his deputy, Dmitry Akulin, thus ignoring VTB’s candidate, Mikhail Kuzovlev. 

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Central Bank of Russia lowers outlook for balance of payments on stronger import growth

The Central Bank of Russia (CBR) revised its monetary policy outlook for 2011-2013, as it was reported by two Russian major business newspapers — Kommersant and Vedomosti.

The document, which is yet to be approved by the parliament, now envisages the current account weakening to USD 70.5 billion in 2010 (down from the previous USD 73.5 billion), USD 35.7 billion in 2011 (down from the previous USD 46.2 billion) and deteriorating to a deficit of USD 21.3 billion by 2013 (previously a deficit of USD 5.7 billion). These estimates are calculated according to the base scenario of oil prices at USD 76/bbl for 2011.

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TransCreditBank may show growth after merger with VTB

Troika Dialog reported this morning that VTB’s supervisory board has approved the purchase of 100% stake in TransCreditBank. VTB is looking to buy a controlling stake by end 2010 from Russian Railways (further discussion is scheduled for the next week) and minority shareholders. 

The price will be no more than 2.2 times TransCreditBank’s adjusted Tier 1 capital by year end, implying a valuation for the entire bank of $1.6 billion. Adjustments will not be material, instead being aimed at avoiding any negative revaluation of equity during future impairment tests.

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