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Sberbank will be able to sell 80% of share offering - experts - 1

(adds experts' opinions in paragraphs 8-10)

MOSCOW, February 22 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's state-controlled retail savings bank Sberbank [RTS: SBER] will be able to sell about 2.8 million shares or 80% of its additional share issue, experts polled by RIA Novosti said Thursday.

The bank's supervisory board set Wednesday the price for the domestic rights offering of 3.5 million new shares at 89,000 rubles (about $3,396) per share.

"According to yesterday's preliminary data on investor applications for the purchase of Sberbank shares and the stock's selling price, which has been determined, Sberbank, in my view, will be able to sell 2.8 million shares of its secondary offering at best," said Denis Mukhin, an analyst with BrokerCreditService brokerage.

His view was shared by Igor Duel, an analyst with Russian Development Bank: "Proceeding from the offering price that has been set and some other factors, Sberbank will, most likely, sell about 2.8 million shares of its additional share issue."

However, Sberbank CEO Andrei Kazmin said Wednesday the bank was not worried over failure to place its secondary offering of 3.5 million shares in full.

According to the Sberbank chief executive, the bank was not interested in the number of shares because the task was to sell the maximum amount possible of the stock at market price.

Kazmin said the demand for the secondary offering had largely come from the domestic market, with 49,197 applications filed during the placement, including 262 requests from nonresidents submitted through brokers.

Mukhin also said that "although the preliminary number of applications... was lower than we expected, if Sberbank is able to attract this amount of money, its allocation can be described as successful."

The head of Binbank's stock market operation department was also optimistic.

"Investors reacted positively to yesterday's news about Sberbank, and in particular the placement price and the volume of applications received," Sergei Zhirnikov said.

Sberbank is Russia's largest bank, with 60.57% of its shares controlled by the Central Bank. Sberbank's branch network includes 17 regional banks and 832 branches. On January 31, the Central Bank of Russia said it would cut its stake in Sberbank to 55.34% after the additional share placement.

Following the additional share issue, Sberbank's charter capital is expected to grow to 70.5 billion rubles (about $2.7 billion) from the current 60 billion rubles (about $2.3 billion) and will consist of 22.5 million ordinary shares with a par value of 3,000 rubles (about $113) each and 50 million preferred shares with a face value of 60 rubles (about $2.3) each.

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