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RenCap Said to Cull Research Team After Prokhorov Takes Over

Russian Billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov
Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov bought almost half of RenCap for $500 million four years ago. Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

Renaissance Capital cut a quarter of its Moscow research team, less than three months after billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov wrested control of the investment bank from co-founder Stephen Jennings, two people wirh knowledge of the matter said.

RenCap culled at least four of 16 analysts, including Natalya Zagvozdina, who was deputy head of the department and Institutional Investor’s top Russian consumer analyst from 2004 to 2010, the people said, asking not to be identified because the information is confidential. Zagvozdina, who left last week after a dozen years, declined to comment by e-mail.

Milena Ivanova-Venturini, deputy head of equity research and Russia strategist, also left as did consumer analyst Ulyana Lenvalskaya and banking analyst Svetlana Pavlova, according to the people. RenCap’s press office declined to comment and calls to the work numbers of the three women went to voice mail.

Prokhorov, ranked the world’s 66th richest person in the Bloomberg Billionaire’s Index with a net worth of $14 billion, bought almost half of RenCap for $500 million four years ago. He gained the other half after rebuffing the request of Jennings, the founder and controlling shareholder, for extra bailout funds, two people with knowledge of the matter said Nov. 15.

Zagvozdina joined RenCap in 2001 from Morgan Stanley, where she started as an equity analyst. Moscow-based RenCap hired Ivanova-Venturini from UniCredit SpA in 2008 and later made her head of research for Central Asia.

RenCap closed its operations in China, India, Kazakhstan and Ukraine last year in what it said was a bid to cut in half costs and personnel. The investment bank, which was the largest organizer of Russian equity sales in 2010, slumped to eighth last year, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

RenCap has lost market share to domestic competitors with state backing, led by VTB Capital and OAO Sberbank, which last year purchased Troika Dialog, Moscow’s oldest securities firm.

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