March 10 (Bloomberg) -- Citigroup Inc. hired four former Troika Dialog bankers, including Kingsmill Bond, the Moscow brokerage’s chief strategist, in its second Russian hiring spree in six months.
Bond was rated the top Europe, Middle East and Africa analyst for the past two years by Institutional Investor magazine. Citigroup also hired Andrey Kuznetsov, Troika’s former Russia strategist, Kirill Kazanli, an infrastructure analyst, and Will Hammond, who was previously head of equity sales, according to an e-mailed statement from Citigroup in London.
Citigroup is expanding as Russia begins a new round of state asset sales and as competition for banking skills in Moscow intensifies. The New York-based bank was the fourth-biggest arranger of debt and equity sales last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Troika, which is in negotiations to sell an 80 percent stake to OAO Sberbank, Russia largest lender, was the second-biggest underwriter in 2010.
A strong presence in Russia is “critically important,” Rhys Summerton, Citigroup’s London-based head of research for Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa, said in an e-mailed statement.
The U.S. bank also recruited Ronald Smith, former head of Russian equities at CA Cheuvreux, the equity brokerage unit of Credit Agricole SA. All five will all be based in Moscow, Citigroup’s London-based spokesman Jeffrey French said in an e-mail.
$34 Billion Program
Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s government in October selected 10 foreign and domestic banks to help it raise at least 1 trillion rubles ($34 billion) selling assets during the next three years. The privatization list includes Sberbank and VTB Group, Russia’s second-largest lender. Citigroup was among 13 banks the government added to the initial list on Dec. 25 to advise on the program of state asset sales.
Russia’s last major asset sale was in 2007, when VTB raised $8 billion. Oil producer OAO Rosneft’s IPO a year earlier raised $10.6 billion.
The search for Bond’s replacement is “well advanced,” Paolo Zaniboni, head of research at Troika Dialog, said in an e-mailed statement.
Citigroup hired 15 bankers in September from competitors including UBS AG and Bank of America Merrill Lynch to expand its coverage of Russia, South Africa and the Middle East. Igor Kan, Morgan Stanley’s former deputy head for Russia, joined as head of equities.
Renaissance Capital, the brokerage half-owned by Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov, said on March 1 it hired six senior traders for its global cash equities trading team.
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