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KBC Groep : KBC Group : Absolut Bank acquired by the Russian companies that manage the pension reserves of Non-State Pension



 KBC Groep : KBC Group : Absolut Bank acquired by the Russian companies that
   manage the pension reserves of Non-State Pension Fund "BLAGOSOSTOYANIE"

Joint Press Release
- Outside Brussels trading hours - Regulated information*
Moscow, Brussels - 24 December 2012

               New landmark in KBC Group's divestment programme

- KBC Group NV has decided to sell its Russian banking subsidiary Absolut Bank
to a group of Russian  companies, which manage the  assets of the 2nd  largest 
Non-State Pension Fund in Russia, "BLAGOSOSTOYANIE".

- This deal - for a total consideration of 0.3 billion euros and repayment  of 
all KBC funding that is currently placed within Absolut Bank for the amount of
0.7 billion euros - will free up around 0.3 billion euros of capital for  KBC, 
primarily by  reducing risk-weighted  assets by  2 billion  euros, which  will 
ultimately improve  KBC's  tier-1  ratio  by around  0.4%  (pro  forma  impact 
calculated on 30 September 2012). The transaction will have no material impact
on KBC's consolidated results in  2012. At closing, an  impact of about -  0.1 
billion euros on the  consolidated result is expected  but not on the  capital 
account.

- The transaction is still subject to regulatory approval. In the meantime and
pending the expected closing  of the transaction in  the 2nd quarter of  2013, 
Absolut Bank  with the  support  of KBC  remains  fully committed  to  further 
developing its business activities.  Being a highly  reputed premium brand  in 
the  Russian  financial  landscape,  Absolut  Bank's  brand  name,  staff  and 
management will be maintained in their entirety.

- The divestment of Absolut Bank is another step in the implementation of  the 
KBC Group's  updated  strategy of  focusing  on retail  customers,  small  and 
medium-sized enterprises  and mid-caps  in  its core  markets of  Belgium  and 
Central and Eastern Europe, while reducing risk-weighted assets. Consequently,
it was decided  to earmark  Absolut Bank for  divestment, notwithstanding  its 
built-up market presence and expertise.

Johan Thijs, CEO  of KBC  Group NV  commented on the  deal: "I  am pleased  to 
announce this  deal,  which can  be  considered  as another  landmark  in  the 
divestment programme  of foreign  and  national assets  KBC has  committed  to 
execute with the European Commission. KBC  will continue to focus on its  core 
activity as a bank-insurer  in our core markets  with a reduced  risk-profile. 
The new ownership for Absolut Bank  is a recognition of the bank's  experience 
and expertise, and will provide continuity to staff and customers."'

Welcoming the announcement, Mr. Yuri Novozhilov, CEO of BLAGOSOSTOYANIE  said: 
"The Non-State  Pension  Fund "BLAGOSOSTOYANIE"  supported  the offer  of  the 
companies which manage the pension reserves of Non-State Pension Fund to  make 
an investment of assets  of "BLAGOSOSTOYANIE" in the  shares of Absolut  Bank. 
Absolut Bank is a big, solid financial institution. It is among the TOP-45  in 
terms of net wealth. The  Bank has a wide branch  network and a platform  that 
works according  to  high-level,  western  standards.  We  regard  this  as  a 
profitable and secure  investment for the  pension funds of  our clients.  The 
Non-State Pension Fund "BLAGOSOSTOYANIE" will provide support to Absolut  Bank 
in its business development".

 

Mr Nikolai  Sidorov, CEO  of Absolut  Bank concluded:"First  of all,  the  new 
shareholder gives Absolut Bank new opportunities. We understand that the  good 
standing and the long-term  resources of the NPF  Blagosostoyanie will give  a 
new impetus to Absolut Bank's development. The experience we've obtained  with 
change management  during  the last  5  years  will help  us  provide  maximum 
predictability  and  reliability  to  Absolut  Bank's  clients,  partners  and 
employees through the  transition period. It  will also help  us maintain  the 
high quality of services. Results  for the first 11  months of 2012 show  that 
Absolut Bank has  earned 1.6  billion RUR. The  H1 capital  adequacy ratio  is 
17.44% (RAS). With  our new shareholder,  we aspire to  continue the  positive 
development trend and to increase our business profitability."

Note for the editors:

About The Non-State Pension Fund "BLAGOSOSTOYANIE" (www.npfb.ru)

The  Non-State   Pension   Fund   "BLAGOSOSTOYANIE  was   founded   in   1996. 
"BLAGOSOSTOYANIE" is the 2^nd  largest Non-State Pension  Fund in the  Russian 
Federation. It provides services in  the field of non-state pension  provision 
and mandatory pension insurance in 80  regions of Russia. Based in Moscow,  it 
has own assets amounting to €6,5 billion. It has 2.9 million customers. It has
achieved continuous growth in customers, pension savings and reserves.

About KBC (www.kbc.com)

KBC is an  integrated multi-channel bancassurance  group, catering mainly  for 
retail, SME and local midcap customers. It concentrates on its home markets of
Belgium and certain countries in  Central and Eastern Europe (Czech  Republic, 
Slovakia, Bulgaria and  Hungary). Elsewhere  around the globe,  the group  has 
established a presence in selected countries and regions.

KBC provides banking, insurance and asset management products and services via
its integrated  distribution channel  consisting of  bank branches,  insurance 
agents and  brokers  and  the  Internet. KBC's  headquarters  are  located  in 
Brussels (Belgium), the heart  of Europe. The group  employs more than 47  000 
FTE KBC is listed on NYSE Euronext Brussels (ticker symbol 'KBC').

About Absolut Bank (www.absolutbank.com)

Absolut Bank, a full-service bank founded in 1993, is successfully  developing 
in the 15 largest regions of Russia. Absolut Bank is among the TOP-45  largest 
Russian banks by net assets  (RBC Rating), and among  the TOP-10 banks by  the 
size of the mortgage portfolio (RBC Rating). As of 1 December 2012, the bank's
equity amounted to RUB 19 bn, profit - RUB 1.6 bn, while the capital  adequacy 
ratio N1 as of 1 November 2012  amounted to 17.44%. The Bank's key  strategies 
are high-quality service, customer base diversification, continuous monitoring
of  the  loan  portfolio  quality  and  conservative  approach  towards   risk 
management. The Bank  employs nearly  3,000 employees who  render services  to 
more than 140,000 customers.

For further information please contact:

KBC Group

Wim Allegaert, General Manager, Investor Relations, KBC Group NV
Tel. +32 2 429 40 51 E-mail wim.allegaert@kbc.be

Viviane Huybrecht,  General  Manager, Group  Communications/Spokesperson,  KBC 
Group NV
Tel. +32 2 429 85 45 E-mail pressofficekbc@kbc.be

Blagosostoyanie

Tatiana  Grosheva,   Head   of  Corporate   Communications   Department,   NPF 
"Blagosostoyanie"
Tel. +8 499 262-65-33, ext. 1249 E-mail: tgrosheva@npfb.ru

Absolut Bank

Elena Sosnovtseva, Director of Communication and Brand department, Absolut
Bank
Tel. +7 495 777 71 71 ext 52278, E-mail: pressa@absolutbank.ru

*This press release contains information provided in compliance with European
transparency legislation for listed companies.
Absolut_Bank_deal_announcement_EN

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This announcement is distributed by Thomson Reuters on behalf of Thomson
Reuters clients.

The owner of this announcement warrants that:
(i) the releases contained herein are protected by copyright and other
applicable laws; and
(ii) they are solely responsible for the content, accuracy and originality of
the
information contained therein.

Source: KBC Groep via Thomson Reuters ONE
HUG#1667227
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