Nicosia, Jun 28: The Bank of Cyprus (BOC) - Eastern Mediterranean island of Cyprus biggest bank - has said it has clinched a deal to buy 80 per cent in Russia's Uniastrum Bank for 576 million dollars as part of its strategy to expand abroad.
Andreas Eliades, Chief Executive Officer of the Bank of Cyprus, said that Uniastrum Bank, being the 9th largest banking network in Russia, would significantly strengthen BOC's presence in targeted markets. Uniastrum ranks 15th in the list of biggest mortgage lenders in Russia. It has total assets amounting to 1.4 billion euros and employs about 4,300 people. The bank is based in Moscow and has a total of 222 branches and sub-offices in 41 regions of Russia.
The two founding shareholders of Uniastrum, George Piskov and Gagik Zakarian, will retain a 10 per cent interest each and remain as chairman and president, respectively.
Russia has a buoyant economy with an average real GDP growth of 7.3 per cent since 2004 and retail loans and corporate loans increasing annually by 80 per cent and 56 per cent, respectively.
With the addition of Uniastrum, the Bank of Cyprus Group will operate a network of 520 branches in Cyprus, Greece, Russia, Romania, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and Australia.