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VTB to Sell Rosbank Stake to France's Societe Generale

The value of VTB’s stake in the scandal-rocked Rosbank, one of Russia’s largest, is estimated at $300 million. Yekaterina Kuzmina

The country's second-largest bank, VTB, has agreed to sell its stake of about 10 percent in Societe Generale's Russian unit Rosbank to the French bank, while Societe Generale, or SocGen, will sell VTB a number of Russian assets, a source close to the deal said Sunday.

State-controlled VTB, which bought into Rosbank in 2010, said in May that the stake was not a strategic investment and that it was in talks to sell the asset.

That followed upheaval at Rosbank when the bank's chief executive, Vladimir Golubkov, was charged with bribery. Golubkov was later dismissed from the bank.

Under the deal, VTB will sell the Rosbank stake to SocGen, while the French bank will sell VTB shares it holds in Russian companies, loans to Russian companies and Russian real estate assets, the source said. The source did not disclose a monetary value for the deal.

Analysts have said VTB's stake could be worth about $300 million and identified SocGen as the only likely buyer. The price VTB paid for the asset in 2010 was not disclosed at the time.

The deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter, the source said.

Rosbank is currently 82 percent owned by SocGen, which first bought into the bank in 2006. Metals tycoon Vladimir Potanin, who with former partner Mikhail Prokhorov used to own Rosbank, holds the remainder along with other shareholders, according to Rosbank's website.

VTB previously held talks with SocGen about selling the stake in December 2010, a source quoted VTB Chief Executive Andrei Kostin as saying at the time.

VTB has said it is looking to sell noncore assets. It has said it aims to cut its holding in the Russian unit of mobile phone company Tele2 below a controlling stake in the coming year.

Rosbank was not immediately available for comment. VTB and SocGen declined to comment.

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