Prokhorov’s Onexim Sells RenCredit 6.5% Stake to Yurchenko

Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov’s Onexim Group sold a 6.5 percent stake in Renaissance Credit for an undisclosed sum to Evgeny Yurchenko, the former head of telecommunications group Svyazinvest OAO.

“He’s a passive financial investor,” RenCredit Chief Executive Officer Aleksey Levchenko said of Yurchenko in a telephone interview today. The deal values the company at 1.5 to 2 times book value, Levchenko said. Yurchenko said by phone the stake represents “a very good financial prospect.” Andrey Belyak, a spokesman for Onexim, declined to comment.

Prokhorov wrested control of RenCredit and Renaissance Capital from founder Stephen Jennings last month. RenCredit offers consumer loans, credit cards and deposit services to about 5 million customers in Russia, according to the company.

Onexim Group, Prokhorov’s holding company, is readying RenCredit for an initial public offering, CEO Dmitry Razumov said last month, adding a final decision hasn’t been made. By the end of the year, the outlook for the financial markets and strategic opportunities will be clearer, he said.

RenCredit reported last month that it boosted net income about 15 percent to 3.1 billion rubles ($100 million) last year on higher lending, and non-performing loans expanded to about 8 percent of its portfolio.

Levchenko declined to say whether there are plans to sell more of the lender before an IPO. Yurchenko said an IPO could represent a potential exit for his investment.

Prokhorov, a former CEO of OAO GMK Norilsk Nickel, Russia’s largest mining company, owns the Brooklyn Nets basketball team and sold 37.8 percent of Polyus Gold International Ltd. to other billionaires last month for $3.6 billion. He ran against Vladimir Putin in last year’s presidential election and has said he’s interested in running for mayor of Moscow.

(Updates with comment from Onexim in second paragraph.)
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