RenCap Said to Be Closing India, Hong Kong Offices

Renaissance Capital is closing its offices in India and Hong Kong as the investment bank half-owned by billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov retrenches to focus on Russia and Africa, according to two people familiar with the matter.

RenCap, as the Moscow-based bank is known, is also shuttering its sales, trading and research operations in Kazakhstan and Ukraine, the people said, declining to be identified because the closures haven’t been made public. RenCap’s press service in Moscow declined to comment, as did Onexim Group, Prokhorov’s holding company.

RenCap plans to cut as much as 15 percent of its global workforce this year as business slows, two people with knowledge of the matter said in May. The bank has slumped to 18th in Russian debt sales this year from fifth last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Soroosh Shambayati, hired as global co-head of markets in Moscow from Nomura Holdings Inc. less than a year ago, left RenCap last month, according to the people. The bank is also closing its smaller Chinese office in Beijing, Asia Money reported June 22.

Founder Stephen Jennings sold half of RenCap to Prokhorov for $500 million to keep it afloat in September 2008 amid a record rout in Russian stocks that included a 25 percent plunge in the benchmark Micex Index over three days. Prokhorov’s Onexim Group in February gained a minority stake in Renaissance Group’s consumer finance unit and part of its holdings in London-listed miner Beacon Hill Resources Plc and Ukrainian Agrarian Investments.

Jennings has been trying to transform RenCap from a Russian investment bank into a global emerging markets firm by opening offices in Sub-Saharan Africa, India and China. He also bought Turkish brokerage Mira Menkul Degerler AS last November.

Alexander Pertsovsky is stepping down as Renaissance Capital Russia CEO to become chairman of Renaissance Group Russia, the bank said June 29. Andrew Cornthwaite, deputy CEO of Renaissance Capital, went on leave for an indeterminate period in May, the same month RenCap’s Asia chief, Jeremy Sparrow, left the company.

(Corrects Alexander Pertsovsky’s title in sixth paragraph of story that originally ran July 2.)
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