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Shuvalov says Sberbank should be privatised by end of 2012

April 16, 2012, 18:00 UTC+3

First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said the Sberbank savings bank should be privatised by the end of this year

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ISTRA, Moscow region, April 16 (Itar-Tass) —— First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said the Sberbank savings bank should be privatised by the end of this year.

“I think it should be sold this year,” Shuvalov said on Monday, April 16.

There are different views regarding this issue, he admitted. One is that the bank should be sold this year. Another is that this is not the best time because volatility is high and it is necessary to wait till 2013-2014.

At the same time, Shuvalov is of the opinion that “if we keep waiting we may never get it [the best time] and if this volatility continues for five more years, there will always be the argument against selling”.

Sberbank has no plans to place its shares on the London Stock Exchange (LSE) in the next two weeks, the bank’s CEO German Gref saide arlier.

He did not say when the shares would be placed. “I do not know. This will depend on the situation in the market,” he said.

Sberbank controls about one-third of Russia’s rapidly developing banking market. Its shares have been traded for many years in Moscow, but the upcoming ADR offer in London will be its first deal at a European exchange.

President Dmitry Medvedev earlier confirmed plans to privatise state-owned banks and sell VEB's subsidiaries.

It was agreed to move over to the Basel principles of supervisory regulation in the next several years Basel2 by 2014 and Basel-3 by approximately 2018-2019 as well as to ease pressure on banks and facilitate their work by reducing paperwork.

It will also be necessary to raise people's financial awareness, launch a special programme for schoolchildren and organize work through television and the Internet, presidential aide Arklady Dvorkovich said.

The privatisation of state-owned banks was discussed with a view to encouraging greater competition in this sector. The president confirmed plans to sell subsidiaries owned by Vnesheconombank (VEB).

The government's privatisation plan includes more than 850 organisations, such as VTB bank, Sovcomflot, the United Grain Company, RusHydro, Sberbank, Rosneft, Rosagrolizing, Rosselkhozbank, Russian Railways Company, and others.

Russia will continue to privatise state-owned banks after 2015.

According to the privatisation plans, the government intends to reduce its share in Sberbank, VTB and Rosselkhozbank to 50 percent plus one share before 2013.

"Privatisation will proceed on all fronts. In other words, we will sell companies that are directly owned by the Russian Federation, companies that belong to Russian regions, and companies that are controlled by the Russian Federation," Shuvalov said earlier.

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