• ACI Russia

08/03/1998 13:50:33 Russia's Tokobank mulls strategic investor tender

By Svetlana Kovalyova

MOSCOW, Aug 3 (Reuters) - The supervisory council of Russia's troubled

Tokobank is considering holding a tender to choose a strategic investor, the

head of the council said on Monday.

Boris Guzanov told Reuters that two Russian banks -- MENATEP <MNTP.MM> and

UNEXIMBank -- had expressed readiness to become Tokobank's strategic investor

and get it back on its feet.

A little-known state investment company, Gosinvest, was also interested and

other potential bidders could emerge, he added.

"We had an idea that if UNEXIMBank and Gosinvest presented more detailed

plans, maybe by September 2 we would prepare a tender to choose an investor,"

Guzanov said.

MENATEP has already proposed a rescue plan for Tokobank, which has been

placed under temporary administration by the Russian central bank due to

liquidity and management problems.

Tokobank's supervisory council agreed to discuss details of the plan on

September 2.

The council agreed in principle to transfer a controlling stake to MENATEP

without a tender, if it carried out negotiations with creditors on restructuring

Tokobank's debt and agreed a rescue plan with the council. But a senior MENATEP

official said the terms were difficult to meet.

The central bank had prolonged the temporary administration period until

September 1 from August 1, Guzanov said.

The supervisory council was waiting for all investors to present their

rescue plans, without specifying why the council wanted to see the plans before

it announced the terms of the tender, he said.

Terms for the tender would be worked out by the council, the temporary

administration and the central bank, he added.

"If the tender takes place, it will be carried out by these three parties,"

Guzanov said.

Bank Moskvy (Bank of Moscow) had expressed a wish to invest in Tokobank and

get a controlling stake, but later dropped the plans after it found out that

real investment requirements were higher than originally expected.

((Moscow Newsroom +7095 941-8520, moscow.newsroom@reuters.com))

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