Sberbank GDR Premium Surges as Receipt Program Approaches Limit

The premium investors pay for OAO Sberbank’s foreign-traded stock compared with the bank’s Moscow shares jumped after Russia’s biggest lender said its receipts program is close to the limit.

The extra amount investors pay to hold the London-traded securities surged to 18 cents, the highest since Jan. 7, when Moscow trading was closed for public holidays. The last time the premium was larger than today’s level when both exchanges were open was on Nov. 23.

Sberbank “announces that its level I ADR program and Rule 144a GDR program have nearly reached the current overall limit for creating DRs,” the lender said in a statement on its website. Depositary receipts can only account for 25 percent of a company’s shares and 50 percent of its listed shares, according to Russian regulations. Sberbank’s depositary receipts are equivalent to four ordinary shares.

Sberbank’s depositary receipts jumped as much as 3.3 percent before trading up 2.7 percent at $14.75 by 3:40 p.m. in London. Sixty five million receipts traded hands, about 4.2 times the three-month average. Sberbank rose 1.5 percent to 109.38 rubles in Moscow and 2.9 percent to $14.76 in New York.

“Many international investors are restricted from investing in local Russian shares,” Luis Saenz, head of equity sales and trading at BCS Financial Group, wrote by e-mail. “You often see anomalies where the same asset trades at significantly different price levels in Russia and in London.”

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