Swedbank may reduce stake in Ukraine, Russia ops

15:01, 13 May 2009
Politics
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Swedbank spokeswoman Anna Sundblad said on Wednesday

Swedish bank Swedbank (SWEDa.ST) said it was open to reducing stakes in its subsidiaries in Ukraine and Russia but ruled out divestments in the Baltics where a deep recession has weighed on its business, Reuters reported.

"This concerns the operations in Russia and Ukraine. We already have a part ownership there and we`re prepared to increase this on commercial grounds," Swedbank spokeswoman Anna Sundblad said on Wednesday. "But we are not including the Baltics."

Swedish daily Dagens Industri reported earlier on Wednesday that the bank would consider divestments in eastern Europe, including Swedbank`s sizeable business in the Baltic region.

One possibility would be that the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), which already owns 15 percent of Swedbank`s operations in Russia, raised its stake, Sundblad said. She declined to comment on whether other banks would be invited to buy stakes.

Swedbank last month swung to a first-quarter operating loss, hit by a charge to cover souring credits in its operations in the Baltic countries and Ukraine. [ID:nLN150939]

The bank has also started making structural changes, including scaling back its ambitions in Ukraine and strengthening its risk management, to protect its earnings capacity.

Reuters

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