Bloomberg News

Putin Calls Sberbank and VTB `Safe Investments'

February 01, 2007

Russian President Vladimir Putin said shares of banks and energy companies in the country are ``safe investments,'' lending his support to public offerings planned by state-controlled OAO Sberbank (SBER) and VTB Group.

``All the companies that have carried out IPOs are stable institutions, that's Rosneft, VTB and Sberbank,'' Putin said at his annual news conference today in the Kremlin in Moscow.

State-run Sberbank is seeking to raise $12 billion by selling as many 3.5 million new shares. VTB Group plans to raise as much as $4.6 billion by selling a quarter of its stock this year in an initial public offering.

Putin urged companies to sell as many shares as possible on Russian stock exchanges rather than abroad, so that local citizens can invest.

The country's benchmark Russian Trading System Index (RTSI$) advanced 71 percent last year.

Sberbank shares advanced 3.8 percent to 90583 rubles ($3420) at 3.22 p.m. Moscow time.

To contact the reporter on this story: Hannah Gardner at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Malcolm Fried at

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