VTB buys stake in metals company
By Charles Clover in Moscow (Financial Times)
Russia’s second biggest bank, state-controlled VTB, yesterday announced that it had bought 20 per cent of metals company Metalloinvest from an indebted businessman for $2.5bn.
Andrei Kostin, VTB’s president, said the bank would buy the stake from Vasily Anisimov, whose company Coalco Metals owes VTB $1.5bn, and added the purchase would help Mr Anisimov pay his debt to VTB.
Metalloinvest is half owned by Alisher Usmanov, the Uzbek-Russian billionaire who holds a 29 per cent stake in Arsenal Football Club. He told journalists this week that he “welcomed VTB’s decision”.
The company’s main assets include the Lebedinsky iron ore mine, which includes the largest iron ore pit in Europe, and the OEMK steel complex near Kursk in Russia.
Mr Kostin said VTB planned to hold the stake for two to three years, adding that he expected the iron ore company to undertake an initial public offering in the next two years. Metalloinvest pulled a planned dual London-Mos-cow initial public offering in 2008 after metals prices fell. At the time, Metalloinvest planned to list up to 25 per cent of the company.
Yuri Soloviev, VTB’s first deputy president and chairman of the management board, said that the deal was driven by Metalloinvest’s financial fundamentals.
“We are optimistic about Metalloinvest’s global iron ore market prospects.”