Russian Vneshtorgbank Buys 70% Stake in Armenian Savings Bank

March 24 2004

Russian Vneshtorgbank Buys 70% Stake in Armenian Savings Bank

Russia’s state-owned Vneshtorgbank acquired a 70-percent stake in the
Armenian Savings Bank, Armsberbank. The deal was signed in Armenia’s
capital city, Yerevan, on Wednesday, March 24.

Speaking to journalists after the deal was signed, Vneshtorgbank’s
president, Andrei Kostin, said that this is `the first such bank
acquisition in the former Soviet republics’.

Chairman of the Board of Armsberbank Mikhail Bagdasarov, who also
talked to the press, voiced the opinion that the deal will be the
most advantageous one for Armenia since the collapse of the Soviet
Union. `This is a mechanism that unites the Russian and Armenian
banks that are supported by solid financial sources,’ said
Bagdasarov, pointing out that the deal is necessary for the
development of bilateral economic relations with Russia.

Russia’s largest companies, such as Gazprom, Unified Energy System
and Sibir Airlines, which currently work in Armenia, will take out
loans from Armsberbank, a future Vneshtorgbank affiliate. The bank
also plans to enter the retail business. `As a shareholder
Vneshtorgbank intends to increase Armsberbank’s charter capital four
or five-fold and expand its service sector,’ said Bagdasarov.

The Armenian Savings Bank will retain 30 percent of the shares and
will have a say in important deals.