Harneys Cyprus secures Uniastrum deal for Russian banking buyer Artem Avetisyan

Harneys Cyprus acted for Russian banking buyer Artem Avetisyan in last week’s landmark deal with Bank of Cyprus.

On 25 September 2015, Mr. Avetisyan, majority shareholder of the bank Regional Credit, successfully completed a deal with Bank of Cyprus and other minority shareholders for the purchase of 80 per cent of Bank of Cyprus’ Russian banking subsidiary CB Uniastrum Bank LLC and 80 per cent in Bank of Cyprus’ Russian leasing subsidiary Leasing Company Uniastrum Leasing LLC, as well as other Russian loan exposures. The sale is part of Bank of Cyprus’ initiative to strip down the group’s non-core operations. 
 
“We are thrilled to have played a part in such a monumental deal for Cyprus and Russian banking,” said Harneys Partner Emily Yiolitis. “This is a prime example of the type of high value, international transaction for which Harneys Cyprus is known.” The Harneys team was led by Partners Demetris Loizides, Emily Yiolitis and Margarita Hadjitofi and assisted by Associates Sonia Hamshaw and Demetris Nicolaou.
 
"The decision by Bank of Cyprus Group to divest its Russian banking subsidiary is part of the group's strategy aimed at focussing solely on priority markets for the group and scaling down unprofitable areas of business," Bank of Cyprus said in a press release, adding the sale of the group's Russian asset would help it reduce potential risks associated with this market.
 
CB Uniastrum Bank LLC operates a network of approximately 120 branches, focusing on businesses and individuals in Russia and employing around 2,000 personnel.
 
Kostroma-based bank Regional Credit is the 147th biggest in Russia with assets of 26.4 billion roubles (€430 million) and 18 offices. Its core areas of business are lending and maintaining accounts of commercial businesses and retail deposits. In 2012 Mr. Avetisyan, who was previously a minority shareholder of Regional Credit, consolidated 74.99 per cent of its shares, while the remaining pack (25.01 per cent) belongs to the insurance company Kostroma, the guarantor. He is now head of the bank’s Board of Directors. This year Regional Credit created the Modulbank service centre for small businesses that provide services primarily via the Internet and mobile apps.
 
Mr. Avetisyan also heads the new business branch of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives, an initiative of Vladimir Putin tasked with improving the entrepreneurial environment and improving dialogue between business and government. He is founder and vice president of the Neo Centre Consulting Group, which is known for its partnership with Sberbank.
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