VTB should sell 10 pct of shares after 2012 elections

Russia should privatize a second 10-percent stake in its second largest bank VTB after the March 2012 presidential elections, bank head Andrei Kostin said on Friday.

Last fall the Russian government approved a three-year $59 billion privatization program under which the state is to reduce its stake in top companies to the bare controlling level. The sales kicked off this winter with the sale of 10 percent in VTB for 95 billion rubles ($3.4 billion).

“We will sell the other 10 percent next year, I can say it firmly. It should be done after the elections, this is foreign investor psychology,” Kostin said on the sidelines of an investment forum.

The government planned to sell 10 percent this year, 15 percent minus one share in 2012 and maintain a controlling stake in 2013. But from 2013 to 2015, the government may cut its interest in VTB to a blocking stake (25 percent plus one share).

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