15:19 29.03.2017

Sale of Sberbank subsidiary in Ukraine may be closed in late April-late May

The sale of Sberbank's subsidiary in Ukraine may be closed in the period from late April through late May, a source at Sberbank of Russia told reporters.

"Considering that realistically we will not receive regulatory clearance any sooner than one month after submitting the documents, we think that the deal will be closed in the period between the end of April and the end of May. Those are our optimistic plans," the source said.

The more conservative assumption is that sale of the asset will close in the first half of 2017, which is the timeframe that Sberbank indicated in a press release announcing the sale agreement. "Sberbank and the buyers are in the process of preparing the documents on sale of the Ukrainian subsidiary, for subsequent submission of the required packet of documents to Ukrainian and Latvian regulators. The provision timeframe for the submission is one-two weeks," the source said. The sale plans must be cleared by three Ukrainian bodies alone: the National Bank of Ukraine, the antimonopoly committee and the securities commission.

Sberbank will not provide loans to finance the purchase of the Ukrainian subsidiary, the source said. "In general we are against that, using a Munchhausen-type response to the circumstances, pulling at our own hair. In this regard, the consortium will use its own money, not borrowing, to purchase shares in our Ukrainian bank," the source said.

It became clear to Sberbank one year ago that it would have to withdraw from the Ukrainian market. "The problem is that the number of those seeking to withdraw from the Ukrainian market remains large and the number of those wanting to enter the market there is extremely small," the source said. Talks with the investors, Grigory Guselnikov and Mikhail Gutseriev, began several months ago. The choice of that group was made due to their readiness to "act as quickly as possible."

Sberbank plans to make use of the opportunity provided by the Central Bank to postpone creation of reserves for operations with Ukrainian subsidiary banks for three years, the source said.

The Ukrainian bank is in decent financial condition. "The amount of loans to Ukrainian state and private companies totals $1.700 billion; about $600 million in liabilities to private individuals and corporate clients of the bank," the source said.

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