Raiffeisen Bank erases Russian business
The Austrian Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) decided to sell its business in Russia or withdraw Raiffeisenbank from the perimeter of the RBI Group. This was announced at the annual general meeting of shareholders by the head of the credit institution, Johann Strobl, reports Reuters.
“RBI will consider possible deals that could lead to the sale or spin-off of the Russian Raiffeisenbank and its deconsolidation from the RBI group,” the top manager said.
He added that Raiffeisen “will continue to reduce business activity in Russia as these opportunities progress,” but intends to retain “some banking operations in Russia to meet the terms of the banking license.”
The bank is focusing on negotiations with two “acceptable” bidders and intends to work intensively in the coming weeks to assess the possibility of a deal, an unnamed senior Raiffeisen executive told the Financial Times. The bank hopes to be able to agree on exit terms this year.
As of 12:52 Moscow time, RBI shares at auction in Vienna rose by 1.8% and cost €13.8 per share.
On March 23, Reuters, citing informed sources, wrote about pressure on Raiffeisen Bank from the European Central Bank (ECB). The regulator does not require RBI to leave Russia immediately, but wants to see an action plan to stop the group from operating in the country, two agency interlocutors said. Such a plan could be the sale of the Russian division or its closure, said one of the sources. An ECB spokesman told Reuters the regulator is asking banks to continue to keep a close eye on business in Russia and “ideally” reduce it as much as possible.
In February, Reuters wrote that the US Department of the Treasury had begun a review of RBI: the department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sent questions to the bank. The RBI said at the time that the questions were of a general nature and related to clarifications of RBI’s payment business in the context of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.