MOSCOW, April 17 (RIA Novosti)
VTB, Russia’s second largest bank, has accepted 74,300 applications worth 11.4 billion rubles ($380 million) in a buyback of shares sold in a “people’s IPO” in 2007, head of the bank’s retail arm VTB-24 Mikhail Zadornov said on Tuesday.
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin instructed state-controlled VTB in late January to devise a buyback plan for the people's IPO, which targeted members of the general public. Almost 120,000 retail investors in Russia bought shares in May 2007, part of a larger offering in which VTB floated 22.5% of its stock, raising some $8 billion.
VTB share prices declined soon after the IPO and have yet to recover to the offer price level. The market price is currently about seven kopecks per share.
The buyback was made at the price of the initial public offering, i.e. 13.6 kopecks per share and buyback requests were capped at 500,000 rubles.
VTB’s management estimated the cost of the buyback scheme at 16 billion rubles but the final figure proved to be lower than expected.
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Any response would likely boomerang on Russia – the partnership between Rosneft and ExxonMobil is a case in point. The United States has hit Russia with a third round of sanctions. This time the Americans went with a higher caliber weapon, targeting Russia’s biggest energy companies (Rosneft and Novatek) and banks (VEB and Gazprombank).