By Vladimir Vasiliev
German Gref is among those who settle billions of Dollars worth of business. His last visit to Minsk in 2008 launched Sberbank’s entrance to our market. Belarus then agreed to sell BPS-Bank to its Russian partner. Recollecting the discussions which preceded that deal, Alexander Lukashenko sincerely noted, “We were very circumspect.” Sberbank’s assets several times exceed Belarus’ GDP, causing apprehension. However, assessing Sberbank’s achievements, Mr. Lukashenko notes that the results have been positive for Belarus.
BPS-Bank’s enhanced capitalisation (it is now the third largest bank after Belarusbank and Belagroprombank) has allowed it to increase its volume of loans. The Russian investor’s arrival on the Belarusian market brought enhanced competitiveness while Sberbank rendered support to our exports, providing loans to buyers in Russia. Another avenue of co-operation has been the placement of Belarusian bonds abroad. With assistance from Sberbank, the Belarusian Government has attracted $1bn from Eurobonds. Our state bonds have also debuted on the Russian market.
Mr. Gref noted that none of the directions discussed in 2008 have ‘failed to receive development’. The volume of Sberbank’s investments into Belarus is approaching $1bn, despite the crisis of the last two years. Sberbank of Russia is now starting a new stage, planning to update the technological platform of its subsidiary BPS-Bank, making it modern, mobile and competitive.
“You’ve accomplished all your promises,” agreed Mr. Lukashenko. He stressed that it’s evident that Sberbank of Russia came to Belarus with serious intentions and for the long term. The state will continue to render all possible support. The President was informed of the Russian partner’s desire to finance various projects in Belarus. “Choose any you wish. We fully trust you and will support you,” Mr. Lukashenko added.
The Russian bank is interested in providing loans for the modernisation of Belarusian oil refineries. Financing of several large projects has begun in Minsk, including the construction of an aqua-park, new metro stations and Mayak Minska (Minsk’s Lighthouse) residential district.
Mr. Gref also met Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich, announcing Sberbank’s readiness to participate in the privatisation processes in Belarus.
The MT reference:
In 2010, Sberbank of Russia led the Russian financial market in terms of its assets, capital and profit, also joining the top ten most profitable banks worldwide. It occupies 14th position globally in terms of its capital.