Russia raises $5.2 bn in Sberbank share sale
Russia on Wednesday sold 7.58 percent of the biggest Russian bank Sberbank, raising $5.2 billion in a successful auction that underlined strong investor interest in its nascent privatisation drive.
The shares held by the Russian central bank were sold at 93 rubles each, raising 159.3 billion rubles ($5.16 billion), the central bank said in a statement.
The offering was two times over-subscribed, Sberbank's deputy head Anton Karamzin was quoted as saying by the state RIA Novosti news agency.
The auction is one of the first major offerings in a three-year $40-billion privatisation programme that the Russian government hopes will bring in much needed funds for an increasingly pressured budget.
The sell-off leaves the central bank with a 50-percent plus one voting share holding in Russia's main retail financial institution. Karamzin said bids had been received from 300 investors including from Britain, the United States, Middle East and Asia.
Sberbank's chief executive German Gref said that he had been delighted by the response.
"The successful transaction will...better equip us to capture available growth opportunities in Russia and internationally," said Gref in the statement, reaffirming his ambition to make Sberbank "one of the world's top performing banks".
© 2012 AFP