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VTB looks to the short term as well as the long

Bank of Moscow is not the only Russian bank to have attracted the attentions of VTB Group in recent weeks. In early December, the group’s investment banking arm, VTB Capital, announced that it had acquired a 19.28% stake in Rosbank, which is majority owned by France’s Société Générale. Unlike the proposed long-term strategic acquisition of Bank of Moscow, however, VTB’s interest in Rosbank is widely viewed as a purely short-term financial investment. Although the purchase price was not disclosed, local analysts believe that the cost of the acquisition of the minority stake was equivalent to around 2.5% of VTB Group’s capital.

Commenting on the acquisition, VTB Capital chief executive Yuri Soloviev said: "Rosbank is an attractive asset with a huge potential due to a strong growth outlook for the Russian banking market and the expected synergy with Société Générale’s assets and franchise. We expect that this acquisition will be a successful financial investment for VTB Capital."

VTB Capital bought the stake from Pharanco Holdings, a subsidiary of the Interros Group, which is controlled by billionaire oligarch Vladimir Potanin, who had previously controlled Rosbank but sold down his stake to Société Générale in a series of transactions before the global economic crisis hit Russia in late 2008.

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