Rosbank to buy Societe Generale’s assets in Russia — RT Business News

Rosbank to buy Societe Generale’s assets in Russia — RT Business News

The French bank had been a controlling shareholder of the Russian lender before it divested amid Ukraine-related sanctions last year

Russian lender Rosbank has received permission to buy out the local assets that belong to its former controlling shareholder, French banking group Societe Generale, according to a decree signed by President Vladimir Putin published on the official government portal of legal acts on Sunday.

The acquisition will include minority stakes in 24 Russian public companies, including VTB Bank, electric power company Rosseti, hydroelectricity company RusHydro, diamond giant Alrosa, several mining majors including Norilsk Nickel, as well as energy majors Gazprom, Surgutneftegaz, Rosneft, and Tatneft, among others.

The terms of the sale have not yet been made public. Based on the details noted in the decree, each individual stake is relatively small, but the total value of the portfolio could be worth billions of rubles, experts say.

The decree notes that the decision to allow Rosbank to proceed with the purchase was made in accordance with Putin’s order from August 5, 2022, which required government permission for transactions with shares of strategic Russian companies. It also placed restrictions on the sale of such assets if they are being sold by foreigners from ‘unfriendly’ states, meaning countries that placed sanctions on Russia in connection with the Ukraine conflict.

Societe Generale had been Rosbank’s controlling shareholder since 2008, but, under sanctions pressure, sold its stake in the company in April 2022 to Interros, one of Russia’s largest private investment companies. The latter belongs to Vladimir Potanin, Russia’s richest man according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. Interros later announced the transfer of up to 50% of Rosbank shares to Potanin’s charitable foundation, explaining that the move stemmed in part from the need to protect the bank from sanctions risks. Nevertheless, in December 2022, Rosbank was added to the US sanctions blacklist, and was later also sanctioned by the EU, UK, and Canada.

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