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VTB May Consider Mozambique Investment Opportunities

VTB Group, Russia’s second-largest bank, said it may consider investment banking opportunities in Mozambique even after rebel clashes with government troops.

Forces tied to the opposition Mozambique National Resistance party, known as Renamo, have rekindled tensions that caused a 15-year civil war against the ruling Frelimo party until 1992. Renamo said it killed 36 soldiers in a clash earlier this month, while the government said only two people died. Rebels attacked arms depots and buses, killing several people earlier this year, forcing the closure of rail lines used by coal mines owned by Rio Tinto Plc.

“Mozambique is one of the countries that VTB may look at in the future in terms of investment banking as part of its sub-Saharan medium-term strategy,” Igor Skvortsov, chairman of VTB’s African unit, said in an e-mail yesterday. “We have noted additional political tension that may have an impact on seeing more investors coming to Mozambique in the future.”

VTB, which bases its African operation in Angola, was considering a transaction with the Mozambican government tied to infrastructure development, Amilcar Barros, a director at VTB’s African unit, said in an interview on Aug. 21, without giving more detail. The country is the site of the world’s largest discovery of natural gas in the past decade

The bank’s comments on the clashes in Mozambique are “not specific to any transaction, that is, or will be, negotiated,” Skvortsov said.

“VTB appreciates all efforts being done by the government of Mozambique in creating a healthy economic environment and in mitigating the political risks,” Skvortsov said.

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