Moscow

By Ben Aris of bne in Moscow

Unless you live in Moscow and are in the retail business, you probably haven’t heard of Moskovsky Kreditni Bank (Credit Bank of Moscow, in English). But you may soon. A top-20 Russian bank, CBM is joining the increasingly long line of Russian companies that want to IPO on London’s stock exchange.

“We are contemplating an IPO, but have not decided on specific timing or plans,” CBM’s CEO, Vladimir Chubar, tells bne in an exclusive interview. “It depends on if the market improves, as the current valuation levels for Russian banks are not necessarily attractive. We are still growing, we have one of the lowest cost/income ratios and the return on equity of about 18-20% is one of the best in the sector. We feel like we are still quite a young bank and will wait for the right window of opportunity to open.” Read more

Museum Nicholas Roerich, Moscow

Depositors who lost their savings when Russia’s Master Bank was closed down last week can at least hope for some compensation from government-backed insurers. But there’s no light at the end of the tunnel for the museum in Moscow that depends on Master Bank’s now discredited chairman for a living.

Boris Bulochnik has not been seen in public since the Russian central bank revoked Master Bank’s license last week citing “large scale suspicious operations” and a Rbs2bn balance sheet hole. Read more

By Rob Hartley

Bankers like rugby union. Not all of them, but certainly lots of them. Stop and listen to the crowds on a big day at Twickenham and you are as likely to hear talk of bonds, mergers and interest rates as rucks, mauls and tries. Finance and rugby are old bedfellows in the City.

If an event like the Rugby World Cup Sevens, kicking off on Friday in Moscow, were in London, there would be a healthy batch of British finance professionals keen to provide sponsorship. So how’s it going in Russia? Read more

By Ben Aris of bne

Russian President Vladimir Putin has started his second stint of two possible terms as president by launching a sweeping programme of reforms. Changes to the financial system are the most advanced and possibly the most important.

Putin met with senior officials to discus the development of the financial markets on Friday January 25. Two things came out of the meeting: changes to the market regulator, and a renewed privatisation effort. Read more

The Moscow Exchange is planning to float shares on its own platform in an initial public offering that will fly the flag for Russia’s principal stock trading venue.

By opting for an exclusively domestic listing, the exchange hopes to boost the appeal of Moscow as a financial center and encourage more Russian companies to forgo the attractions of the London Stock Exchange and go public at home. Read more

When Sergei Sobyanin became mayor of Moscow in 2010 he froze construction in the city and began going through new projects approved by his disgraced predecessor with a fine tooth comb.

There have been some casualties. AFI Development reported a first half 2012 loss this week after downgrading the value of its gross portfolio by about $400m to comply with city hall’s revised development plans. Read more

You might think that Alexei Miller, the chief executive of Gazprom, had enough on his plate running the world’s biggest gas company without taking extra jobs on the side. But Russia’s top gasman has jumped into the saddle at Rosippodromy, the new state equestrian agency, tasked with reviving horse breeding and racing in Russia. Read more

Beyondbrics loves nothing more than a bit of myth-busting. So a research note on Tuesday by Renaissance Capital debunking the notion that Russia is a society of rich playboy oligarchs surrounded by poor workers certainly caught the eye.

Russia, in fact, is only marginally more unequal than China and India, and far better placed than Brazil. Read more