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Sberbank raises $8.8 bln in Russia's No. 2 sale

OAO Sberbank, Russia's state savings bank, raised about 230 bln rubles ($8.8 bln) selling new shares in the country's second-biggest stock sale ever, the Finance Ministry said.

Sberbank sold shares for 89,000 rubles ($3,394) each and received orders for about 260 billion rubles of stock, Finance Ministry spokeswoman Irina Yershova said by phone in Moscow yesterday, without saying how many shares were sold. The 165-year-old bank, whose shares have more than doubled in the past 12 months, drew investors in a market dominated by energy and commodity stocks and an economy that's grown for nine straight years.
President Vladimir Putin is using the sale to reduce the state's grip on the lender. „The banking industry is attractive for a play on the economy,” said Jan-Olov Olsson, who helps manage the equivalent of $700 million in Russian stocks at Alfred Berg in Stockholm. „The more diversified the market, the more sophisticated it becomes.” He declined to comment on whether he bought Sberbank stock. The lender, Russia's biggest, had said it would sell as many as 3.5 million shares.

JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Credit Suisse Group organized the sale. State-run oil producer OAO Rosneft raised $10.7 billion in an initial public offering last year in the country's largest stock sale. Sberbank's offering price is about 4% lower than the closing share price on Tuesday. It's 5% below the record $3,575 on February 15. Analysts including Alex Kantarovich at MDM Bank in Moscow were expecting a discount of as much as 10%. Kantarovich yesterday confirmed a „hold” recommendation with a price target of $3,631.
The planned IPO of VTB Group, Russia's second-largest bank, may lure investors away from Sberbank over coming months, he wrote in an e-mail. Analysts at Alfa Bank reiterated a „buy” recommendation with a price target of $4,540. The offer price is „positive for the bank,” Natalia Orlova and Olga Naydenova wrote in an e-mail. The shares gained 0.3% to $3,545 in Moscow, valuing the bank at $70.2 billion. (Bloomberg)