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4 Dec, 2008 04:34

Sberbank looks to go global

The head of Russia and Eastern Europe's largest bank has boasted of an “historic” opportunity to buy international rivals. In an interview with Business RT, the chairman of Sberbank, Herman Gref, said he'll take advantage of the unprecedented

In a strategic presentation at its Moscow headquarters the $16 Billion giant said it wants to be one of the world's TOP banks within five years.  But Herman Gref began by quashing reports of takeover bids for Austrian-based multinational Raiffeisen and OTP Bank of Hungary.

“They're good banks but there've been a lot of false rumours. In reality, we're not interested in buying them.”

RT: Why is now a good time to make foreign acquisitions?

“The bad thing is that in these times we have to calculate the RISK of new markets before we enter them. But shares are at a historic low, which unquestionably in normal economic conditions would make them inaccessible.”

RT: You mentioned Belarus, India, China, do you prefer organic growth there or acquisitions?

“China and India have very long procedures to get into their markets. First we're opening representative offices there, and we'll start opening branches there nearer the end of our 5-year plan.  In Belarus we're considering both our own set-up and acquisitions. The important thing is we've just got the green light to proceed from the President of Belarus.”