May 29, 2018 / 12:23 PM / a month ago

Russian Railways seeks buyers for its leasing unit and bank: sources

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia’s state railway monopoly Russian Railways (RZhD) has put up for sale its railcar leasing unit TransFin-M and its subsidiary Absolut Bank and is in discussions with potential buyers, according to three sources briefed on the sale talks.

TransFin-M had 63,000 railway wagons at the end of 2017, and is the fifth biggest company in the market in Russia.

Absolut Bank is Russia’s 35th biggest bank by assets, according to an Interfax ranking. The bank made a loss last year of 4 billion rubles ($63.78 million), according to its Russian standard financial results.

Both TransFin-M and Absolut Bank are owned by NPF-Blagosostoyanie, a pension funding controlled by RZhD.

Two executives whose banks have been in talks with Blagosostoyanie representatives about buying the assets said that TransFin-M and Absolut were being offered to potential buyers. They spoke on condition their employers were not identified.

The third source, an employee with a company to which the assets had been offered, said discussions were underway with four potential buyers: state-run lenders Sberbank (SBER.MM) and VTB (VTBR.MM), state-controlled Gazprombank (GZPRI.MM), and state leasing company GTLK.

RZhD and Blagostostoyanie declined to comment. Sberbank and VTB declined to comment, while Gazprombank and GTLK did not respond to Reuters questions.

Absolut Bank did not answer questions about a possible sale, but said that later this year the bank would receive a 6 billion rouble capital injection from its main shareholder. Transfin-M could not be reached for comment.

Reporting by Tatiana Voronova and Katya Golubkova; editing by Christian Lowe and Polina Devitt

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