June 8, 2018 / 7:05 AM / a year ago

Russia's Otkritie bank plans to sell 20 percent stake in 2021

ST PETERSBURG (Reuters) - Russia’s Otkritie bank, bailed out by the central bank last year, aims to sell a stake of up to 20 percent in 2021, the bank’s management said on Friday.

The central bank took over Otkritie, once Russia’s largest private lender, and two other major banks in 2017 in an attempt to prevent a deeper crisis in the banking sector that lost dozens of players in the past few years.

“It is important for us to be attractive for an external investor, a buyer, by 2021 so we can sell 15-20 percent of shares,” Otkritie’s CEO Mikhail Zadornov said.

Zadornov, presenting the bank’s strategy at a banking forum in St Petersburg, said Otkritie would like to sell its shares at a price of at least 1.3 times the capital the bank has at the end of 2020.

The central bank had said before it wanted to sell the banks it rescues, considering an increased state presence in the banking sector as undesirable.

Ksenia Yudayeva, first deputy governor central bank and the head of the supervisory board at Otkritie, said shares in Otkritie will be offered in several blocks. She said Otkritie was not looking for a strategic investor to buy those shares.

Yudayeva said Otkritie’s plan for the next few years would be to focus on lending to small and medium businesses.

A successful implementation of the strategy should help Otkritie’s banking business post a net profit of 68 billion rubles ($1.08 billion) in 2020, Zadornov said.

The bank’s return on equity, an indicator that shows how much profit the company generated from the money invested by its shareholders, is set to increase to 18 percent in 2020 from zero in 2018, the bank’s presentation showed.

In the first five months of 2018, the bank made 5.4 billion rubles in net profit, Yudayeva said.

Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh; Editing by Elaine Hardcastle

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