Sberbank casts wary eye on global market ‘tealeaves’ ahead of stake privatization

Sberbank, a key part of the government privatization programme, will make a decision on whether to go ahead with plans to place a 7.6% stake on the market in coming months, within the next few weeks, according to Chairman, German Gref.

Speaking with journalists in Moscow, on Wednesday, Gref said that the recent market volatility, which has seen equities market take a hammering in August, as well as a number of major clouds hanging over the global economy would be factored into the decision on how and when to proceed.

“We will make the decision in the next few weeks, whether it is realistic to place in this timeframe [September-October].”

Gref added that fears that the Eurozone debt crisis could lead to a contraction there, coupled with renewed fears the US economy was likely to remain stagnant, as well as the possibility of an economic slowdown in China, were all part of the equation the bank would need to consider in how best to maximize the value of the stake being placed as part of the privatization process.

“High volatility hinders us, that’s obvious,” Gref stated, and added “The situation is so volatile and there are so many factors of uncertainty in the global economy that making any forecasts is like trying to read tealeaves,”

The government plans to privatize up to 7.6% of the Central Bank’s 60% stake in Sberbank during the second half of this year by selling them on the open markets. Sberbank has always maintained the privatization timeframe would depend on the market situation.

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