July 13, 2017 / 12:52 PM / 4 months ago

Russian bank VTB looking to shed unprofitable overseas assets

ST PETERSBURG, Russia, July 13 (Reuters) - Russian state bank VTB is considering the possible sale of smaller or less profitable assets abroad, Chief Executive Andrey Kostin told reporters on Thursday.

VTB has subsidiaries or offices in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, as well as in Africa, Asia and Europe. The bank has been under Western sanctions since 2014.

It is currently evaluating which businesses it might shut down or sell, Kostin said.

He said the lender was looking at the “rational and effective use” of existing assets.

“We will cut costs, we will concentrate on the main businesses and the rest will be shut down, sold and so on,” he said.

VTB is looking for buyers for its Ukrainian unit but potential bidders are unable to get permission from Ukraine’s central bank for the deal, Kostin said on Thursday.

For this reason, VTB is selling assets in Ukraine at the same time as looking for a buyer for its bank there, he said. (Reporting by Kira Zavyalova; writing by Polina Nikolskaya; editing by Katya Golubkova and Jason Neely)

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