Sberbank ‘Carefully Watching’ Turkey, Poland for Takeovers

OAO Sberbank, Russia’s biggest lender, is “carefully watching” potential takeover targets in Turkey and Poland, according to Chief Financial Officer Anton Karamzin.

“We are carefully watching Turkish and Polish markets for any opportunities that may arise, but we are in not in any hurry,” Karamzin told analysts in a conference call today.

The bank has “a long-term” view for expanding in eastern Europe following its bid to buy Oesterreichische Volksbanken AG’s assets in the region, he said, adding that “it will take one to two years to clean up and integrate issues there.”

“There are very excited people coming up to us and saying that because we are Russian and we have money that we may want to buy big names in Europe,” the CFO said. “We are not going to be tempted.”

Sberbank, based in Moscow, in September agreed to pay 585 million euros ($787 million) to 645 million euros for Volksbanken International, comprising nine banks in eight countries. It is now arguing that the price be cut by about 15 percent because of losses at VBI’s Hungarian unit, two people familiar with the deal said last week.

No Extra Funding

The acquisition is “not material enough for us” to require additional funding, Karamzin told the analysts today.

Sberbank does not have to raise money from international borrowings for the “the next eight to nine months,” Alexander Morozov, head of the lender’s finance department, said on the call. “We have no need to go to the international markets,” adding that bank is “covered” by internal sources of funding.

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