March 5, 2013 / 8:06 AM / 5 years ago

Russia's Promsvyazbank says share sale an option as profit jumps

* Share sale still seen as “strategic goal”

* Russia’s No.9 bank pulled float last year

* Retail lending turns profitable

* Sees 2013 earnings growth at 50 pct

By Katya Golubkova and Oksana Kobzeva

MOSCOW, March 5 (Reuters) - Promsvyazbank boosted earnings by 58 percent to 8.2 billion roubles ($267 million) in 2012 and has not dropped plans for a share sale, a senior executive told Reuters.

Russia’s ninth-largest bank by assets pulled its stock market listing last year due to weak markets, but still views this as its “strategic goal”, First Vice-President Alexandra Volchenko said.

“You might only do an IPO (share sale) once in a lifetime - the cost of a mistake is very high,” Volchenko said in an interview. “We are not dropping our plans; we are looking at the market situation.”

Last year, Promsvyazbank hired HSBC, J.P. Morgan and Renaissance Capital for a two-stage deal that could have raised around $400 million from the sale of at least a 20 percent stake, followed by a private placement of new stock.

The bank, controlled by billionaire brothers Dmitry and Alexey Ananyev, is aiming for earnings growth in 2013 of 50 percent as it ramps up consumer lending, which turned profitable in the first quarter of this year.

The jump in profits last year came partly from higher interest and commission income.

“In retail lending, the bank showed significant growth ... and started to be self-sustaining in the fourth quarter ... We expect retail lending alone will add at least 2 billion roubles to this year’s profit,” Volchenko said.

In Russia, private-sector banks have curbed growth in lending to corporate clients, where margins have come under pressure from dominant state-owned banks led by Sberbank .

Lending growth to companies in Russia halved last year to 12.7 percent, while lending to households grew by 39.4 percent. The central bank is concerned that unbridled growth in retail lending could lead to what central bank chairman Sergei Ignatyev described recently as “an unpleasant surprise.”

At Promsvyazbank, loans to small- and mid-sized business rose by 20 percent last year, while retail lending jumped by around 65 percent.

Both now account for around 21 percent of its total loan portfolio of 462 billion roubles ($15 billion), growing much faster than corporate lending, which added around 12 percent last year, Volchenko said.

She said the bank sees its corporate loan portfolio growing by around 15 percent this year, retail by around 50 percent, and loans to small and mid-sized business by nearly 30 percent.

Promsvyazbank had a capital adequacy ratio of 11.14 percent as of Feb. 1. A recent issue of subordinated and perpetual Eurobonds along with retained profits should keep the capital at comfortable level this year, Volchenko said.

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development also owns a 11.75 percent stake in Promsvyazbank.

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