Standard buys into Russian bank

9 March 2009

Standard Bank, Africa’s largest bank by assets, is to acquire a 33% stake in the Troika Dialog Group, the most established and largest independent investment bank in Russia.

Standard Bank said in a statement last week that the deal will initially comprise a US$200-million (about R2.1-billion) convertible loan extended by the bank’s international operations to the Troika Dialog Group.

This will be followed by the sale of 100% Standard Bank’s existing Russian operations, ZAO Standard Bank, to Troika.

“The combined operation will have a capital base in excess of $850-million and will be strongly positioned to compete in the Russian financial services sector and to pursue banking consolidation opportunities in Russia,” Standard Bank said.

According to news agency Reuters, the transaction marks the first major foreign investment in the Russian financial sector since the start of the global economic crisis.

Emerging market banking

Russia is the third-largest economy amongst global emerging markets and has considerable wealth, while Troika is a brokerage and investment bank that operates across the Commonwealth of Independent States.

“It has consistently demonstrated market strength in its core lines of business, namely capital, investment banking, asset management, private equity investments and personal investments and finance,” Standard Bank said.

In order to give effect to the strategic partnership, Standard Bank and Troika Dialog plan to enter a relationship agreement which will govern the ongoing shareholder relationship and commercial cooperation between the two groups.

Expansion strategy

“The investment is aligned with Standard Bank’s strategy to expand its international networks and capabilities and, where appropriate, to find the right partners to support the expansion of these networks,” Standard Bank said.

“This transaction enables Standard Bank to have an enhanced access to this large emerging economy, along with a close alliance with a leading Russian company.”

The transaction is subject to the approval of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, the Russian antitrust authorities and the South African Registrar of Banks.

SAinfo reporter

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