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ST PETERSBURG, Russia, June 7 (Reuters) - Russia’s second-largest lender VTB is interested in buying smaller rival Vozrozhdenie bank and could complete a deal in the third quarter, VTB chief executive Andrei Kostin said on Thursday.
Kostin said he had told Russia’s central bank of VTB’s interest in a deal.
Vozrozhdenie, which is one of Russia’s top 40 largest banks by assets, was put up for sale by brothers Dmitry and Alexei Ananyev at the central bank’s request, after their main asset, Promsvyazbank, was bailed out last year.
VTB has around half the assets of Sberbank, Russia’s biggest lender, and has been trying for years to narrow the gap.
Kostin declined to disclose the price VTB is prepared to pay for Vozrozhdenie.
“We notified the central bank on June 1st that we are interested in buying the bank ... We are in talks with Bonum Capital as they represent the seller’s interests in the deal,” he told reporters.
Sources previously told Reuters that Bonum Capital had struck a deal to buy Vozrozhdenie from the Ananyevs, and that Bonum was representing the interests of Russian businessman and lawmaker Suleiman Kerimov.
However, the Vedomosti daily newspaper this week quoted central bank governor Elvira Nabiullina as saying the central bank had not received documents from Bonum about buying Vozrozhdenie.
VTB could also consider buying one or two regional banks to expand the group’s business, Kostin said. (Reporting by Andrey Ostroukh and Tatiana Voronova; Writing by Tom Balmforth and Katya Golubkova; Editing by Mark Potter)