MOSCOW, Oct 16 (Reuters) - Russia’s VTB Bank may obtain a 25 percent stake in the country’s largest container company Transcontainer from Russian shipping firm FESCO, a source familiar with the deal and an industry source told Reuters.
The speculation about possible deal comes a week after FESCO co-owner, Russian tycoon Ziyavudin Magomedov, who was arrested in March on embezzlement charges, sold his stake in a Black Sea port.
VTB, Russia’s second-largest lender, is expected to be a mediate owner of the stake and to sell it later to a strategic investor, the sources told Reuters.
The possible deal was first reported by sources of the RBC online news portal earlier on Tuesday. According to them, VTB will not pay money for the stake, which it holds as collateral for a repo deal it provided to FESCO in 2014, but it will write-off part of FESCO’s debt to the bank.
According to a Reuters source familiar with the deal, FESCO hopes to receive some funds and use them to reduce its debt to holders of its rouble bonds.
VTB and FESCO declined to comment. Based on Transcontainer’s market capitalisation in Moscow on Tuesday, the 25-percent stake has a value of 15.7 billion roubles ($240 million).
Through the state railway monopoly Russian Railways, the government owns a 50 percent stake in Transcontainer, which it had planned to sell to investors before the deal was postponed due to Western sanctions against some of Russian companies in April.
Enisey Capital, affiliated with Russian businessmen Roman Abramovich and Alexander Abramov, holds the remaining 24.5 percent stake in Transcontainer.
Enisey Capital and UCL Holding, owned by another Russian business Vladimir Lisin, were previously considering buying a stake in Transcontainer from the government.
Lisin’s representative declined to comment on Tuesday. Enisey Capital did not reply to request for comment. ($1 = 65.3430 roubles) (Reporting by Gleb Stolyarov; additional reporting by Polina Devitt; writing by Polina Devitt; editing by Angus MacSwan)