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Business news, 16.04.2008 07:46

Bank of St Pete to increase profits, raise $1 bln

Russia's Bank of St Petersburg plans to increase profits by 1.5 times in 2008-2009, expand assets by 50-60 percent each year, and raise up to $1 billion via bonds, loans and a share sale, the bank's chairman told Reuters.

In November, the bank held an initial public offering of 18 percent of its shares, raising $274 million, and chairman Alexander Savelyev said another public offering will be held in 2009, as part of the bank's plan to raise capital.

"We are expanding from the new clients we've attracted. These are not oil, diamond or gas companies, but rather small and medium-sized businesses, such as retail, contruction, industrial and private customers," Savelyev said.

The bank's assets in 2007 grew to 126.7 billion rouble ($5.39 billion) from 60.6 billion roubles in 2006, while its net profit jumped 68 percent to 2.009 billion roubles from 1.2 billion roubles the previous year.

Its loan portfolio nearly doubled last year to 92.3 billion roubles from 39.7 billion roubles in 2006, Savelyev added.

The bank has had an annual growth rate of 100 percent for the past three years, but now the pace is slowing in line with the rest of the sector.

"But we will grow a bit faster than the market. If the market expands this year by 30-40 percent, then we will see 50-60 percent growth. And that will continue for the next two to three years," Savelyev said.

"Our assets this year will be around 200 billion roubles."

And he expects that 2008 will also see the bank's net profits double to around 3.5 billion roubles.

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