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Troika, Da Vinci Backing EBRD Bid for Stake in Russia’s RTS

Two shareholders representing 12.5 percent of the RTS stock exchange are backing a bid by the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development to take a stake in Moscow’s oldest bourse.

“I see positives if it becomes a shareholder and negatives if it’s not allowed to do so,” said Jacques Der Megreditchian, deputy chief executive of Troika Dialog, which holds a 10 percent stake in the RTS. Megreditchian is also chairman of the RTS board.

The EBRD aims to buy 10 percent of the RTS for $75 million from Moscow-based investment bank KIT Finance, spokesman Richard Wallace said Oct. 1. The Federal Financial Markets Service and the FSB, the main successor to the Soviet-era KGB, wrote to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin requesting legislation that would oblige foreign companies to seek approval for stakes above 5 percent in key financial assets, Vedomosti reported Sept. 30, citing a copy of the letter.

Evgeny Fetisov, a managing director at Da Vinci Capital, which has a 2.5 percent stake in the bourse, said the EBRD’s bid is a “positive move” and a step toward President Dmitry Medvedev’s goal of turning Moscow into an international financial center.

The government doesn’t care whether the buyer is Russian or foreign as long as the issue is resolved “on a competitive basis,” Finance Minister Alexei Kudrin said in an interview with state channel Rossiya 24 shown today. A spokeswoman for the Federal Financial Markets Service declined to comment when contacted Oct. 1. The Federal Security Service did not return calls.

-- With assistance by Jason Webb in London. Editors: Alex Nicholson, John Kohut.

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