Sberbank Falls Third Day as Russia Stake Sale Ends: Moscow Mover

OAO Sberbank, Russia’s largest lender, fell for the third day as Russia raised 159.3 billion rubles ($5.2 billion) selling a minority stake.

Sberbank retreated as much as 2.1 percent and closed down 1.1 percent at 93.76 rubles in Moscow. The Micex Index slid 1.1 percent to 1,499.12. In London, the stock slumped 1.8 percent to $12.12.

The Russian central bank priced 1.7 billion shares in ordinary and global depositary stock at 93 rubles each, reducing its stake to 50 percent plus 1 voting share, according to a statement yesterday. The sale signals a renewed push by President Vladimir Putin to go ahead with plans to raise about 1.5 trillion rubles through 2015, a program that had stalled since the $3.3 billion offering of a 10 percent stake in lender VTB Group 19 months ago.

“The share placement was offered at a discount to the market price, so now investors are fixing their profits,” Mikhail Shlemov, an analyst at VTB Capital, said by phone from Moscow. “The drop in shares is logical.”

MSCI Inc. will wait for the results of the sale to announce any changes to its indexes, it said in an e-mailed statement yesterday. MSCI will “implement” Sberbank’s share sale at the November semi-annual index review, according to the statement.

“There seem to be short-term investors, people who got the stock in the placement who are already selling it,” said Bruce Bower, a partner at Moscow-based hedge fund Verno Capital, which manages about $200 million and participated in the Sberbank placement.

Putin called Sberbank’s stake sale one of the “most profitable in the last decade after Apple.”

For every $100 the central bank invested in Sberbank ten years ago it received $3,700, Putin told reporters today in Kazakhstan.

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