The owner of Uniastrum Bank Artem Avetisyan stated that President Vladimir Putin supported his idea of creating a new bank for small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs). “The topic will be worked out,” said Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for the president, to Vedomosti.
Avetisyan wrote a letter to Putin at the end of June. He proposed creating a support bank for servicing SMEs on the basis of four banks – Uniastrum, Orient Express, Credit Europe Bank and SME Bank (owned by the Federal Corporation for the Development of Small and Medium Enterprises), Interfax reported. The letter said that at first it was planned to unite Uniastrum and Vostochny, then to buy Credit Europe Bank in the fall of 2016, and at the last stage the possibility of joining the general group of SME Bank in the format of a public-private partnership is being considered. The strategy of the combined bank involves the development at the expense of shareholders and existing means of support for SME Bank, therefore it will not require funds from the federal budget, the letter said.
The process of combining Uniastrum and Vostochny has already begun. In June, Uniastrum bought out half of Vostochny’s additional issue (its volume amounted to 3 billion rubles), which needs capital, having received 24.9% in the bank’s capital, the rest was bought out by Baring Vostok structures (they owned 63.7% of the bank’s shares then ) In early July, Uniastrum filed an application with the Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) for joining Vostochny Bank. If the request is approved, then Boc Russia Holdings (through which Avetisyan owns 100% of Uniastrum) will receive 40, 01% in the capital of Vostochny. There are no FAS decisions yet.
How much Uniastrum issues to SMEs
7.8 billion rubles. this was Uniastrum Bank’s small and medium business loan portfolio in 2015. This amounted to about 16% of the loan portfolio. A year earlier, it amounted to 9.4 billion rubles.