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Russia: Moscow mandates for market comeback

After a hotly contested process involving more than 20 investment banks the authorities in Moscow have mandated Barclays Capital, Citi, Credit Suisse and VTB Capital to lead manage Russia’s return to the international bond markets after an absence of more than a decade.

Although there’s some disappointment at the banks that failed to make the grade this time around, there’s also the expectation that the Kremlin will shuffle its lead-manager pack when it comes to mandating future issues.

The appointment of VTB Capital is a noteworthy coup for the Russian investment bank, which was set up as recently as 2007. The bank fought off competition from local rivals Troika Dialog, Renaissance Capital and Sberbank to secure the sole berth reserved for a Russian bank.

Leading arranger
Although VTBC lacks a pedigree in the sovereign bond business, it does boast a strong corporate bond franchise. According to Russian fixed income portal, in 2009 VTBC was the leading arranger of Eurobond and local bond issues in Russia/CIS. "Despite international finance market turmoil, VTB Capital has succeeded in attracting investments into the Russian economy and helping companies get resources for further development," says Yuri Soloviev, VTB’s president.

Russian deputy finance minister Dmitry Pankin

"We are not talking about lowering the yield from current market levels by two to three basis points but by several tens of basis points"

Dmitry Pankin

According to deputy finance minister Dmitry Pankin the winning banks were chosen because they proposed a more aggressive funding strategy, with Pankin claiming that any new issuance would slash borrowing levels for the sovereign.

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