Correspondent, New York
Megan's Feed
May 22, 2013

Insight: No more easy pickings in Russia’s banking market

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Foreign banks that once treated Russia as virgin land where easy money could be made are now finding it a cut-throat market tougher than some bargained for.

While players such as Citi and Austria’s Raiffeisen thrive, many have found post-Soviet Russia too hard to crack: rife with credit, legal and corruption risks, and dominated by state giants Sberbank and VTB.

May 22, 2013

No more easy pickings in Russia’s banking market

MOSCOW, May 22 (Reuters) – Foreign banks that once treated
Russia as virgin land where easy money could be made are now
finding it a cut-throat market tougher than some bargained for.

While players such as Citi and Austria’s Raiffeisen
thrive, many have found post-Soviet Russia too hard to
crack: rife with credit, legal and corruption risks, and
dominated by state giants Sberbank and VTB.

May 13, 2013

Russia may squeeze higher dividends from state companies

MOSCOW, May 13 (Reuters) – Russia is considering whether to
make state companies pay higher dividends to replenish
government coffers and reassure foreign investors worried by a
slowing economy, falling commodity prices and an opaque business
environment.

The move could help Vladimir Putin fund spending promises he
made to secure a third term as president and may stem outflows
of foreign money from Russia-focused funds.

Apr 30, 2013

ENRC bidders line up cash, eye sales as deadline nears

LONDON/MOSCOW, April 30 (Reuters) – The co-founders of the
Kazakh miner ENRC, hammering out a deal with Russian
lenders to fund a buyout of minority investors, could sell
assets from the group’s sprawling portfolio to repay their own
bank financing and cut group debt.

Sources with direct knowledge of the situation said
divestments would not be immediate, as the three founding
oligarchs and their advisers focus on May 17 – the date by which
they have to announce to London investors whether they will bid.

Apr 26, 2013

Russia’s VTB set to approve terms for $3.2 bln share sale

MOSCOW, April 26 (Reuters) – Russia’s second-largest bank
VTB was set to push ahead with a 100 billion rouble
($3.2 billion) share sale in the coming weeks to bolster its
capital, even as its shares languish after a series of strategic
missteps.

VTB’s supervisory board was expected on Friday to approve
terms for the long-planned issue, said one source close to the
board. A second source close to the issue said the timing of the
sale was yet to be confirmed but it could happen in mid-May.

Apr 18, 2013

Foreign investors find Russia’s promise unfulfilled

MOSCOW, April 18 (Reuters) – Foreign investors weary of
unfulfilled reform promises under Vladimir Putin have been
fleeing Russia-focused funds this year, clouding prospects for
the country’s fragile equity markets.

So far this year, $1.2 billion has been pulled from
Russia-focused equity funds – 8 percent of estimated
Russia-dedicated assets – on concern over a slowing economy,
Russia’s exposure to falling commodity prices and a lack of
progress on reforms to make a murky business environment more
transparent.

Apr 18, 2013

Minority TNK-BP investor urges Rosneft to back big dividend

MOSCOW, April 18 (Reuters) – Veteran emerging markets
investor Mark Mobius urged Russian oil company Rosneft
on Thursday to issue “a nice fat dividend” to ensure minority
shareholders in recently acquired TNK-BP are treated
fairly.

Mobius, whose emerging markets group has shares in TNK-BP,
made his comments one day after a meeting between Rosneft chief
executive Igor Sechin and investors at which the state-owned
company said the possibility of buying out minority investors -
who hold around 5 percent of TNK-BP Holding – was not discussed.

Apr 6, 2013

Russia slams expansion of U.N. Syria chemical arms probe

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia criticized Western moves to expand a planned United Nations probe into chemical weapons in Syria and compared it to the build-up to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.

Russia, which has used its clout as a veto-wielding Security Council state to blunt Western pressure on Syria, says the U.N. probe announced last month should focus on Syrian government allegations rebels used chemical arms near Aleppo.

Apr 4, 2013

Analysis: Fridman seemingly at war with himself in Tele2 battle

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Investors may be puzzled why billionaire Mikhail Fridman seemed to be bidding against himself for a telecoms company that is no longer for sale.

Fridman is linked with two bids for the Russian unit of Nordic operator Tele2 – one from his A1 vehicle and the other, at a higher price, from MTS and Vimpelcom, in which he is a leading investor.

Apr 4, 2013

Fridman seemingly at war with himself in Tele2 battle

MOSCOW, April 4 (Reuters) – Investors may be puzzled why
billionaire Mikhail Fridman seemed to be bidding against himself
for a telecoms company that is no longer for sale.

Fridman is linked with two bids for the Russian unit of
Nordic operator Tele2 – one from his A1 vehicle and
the other, at a higher price, from MTS and Vimpelcom
, in which he is a leading investor.