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    Mitsubishi Tokyo to open subsidiary bank in Russia

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    MOSCOW, July 11 (RIA Novosti) - International banking major Mitsubishi Tokyo has received the go-ahead from Russia's competition authorities to convert the Moscow representative office of the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi (BTM) into a $25-million subsidiary, an anonymous BTM official told Monday's issue of Vedomosti.

    The leading business daily reported that Mitsubishi was also planning to expand beyond Moscow, pending additional approval from the Russian authorities.

    Andrei Kashevarov, the deputy head of the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service, said BTM had been given approval for its Moscow subsidiary late last week. The Russian Central Bank declined to comment.

    According to Russian bankers, BTM's equity capital is four times higher than the Central Bank's capital requirement, which points to the seriousness of its intentions.

    "If such a reputed and conservative bank comes to a country, they must have long-term plans for the local market," said Yelena Shirinskaya, vice president of Evrotrast bank.

    BTM will not engage in short-term speculation but has probably come to Russia to support Japan's industrial capital, said Ilkka Salonen, chairman of Mezhdunarodny Moskovsky Bank. Analysts agreed, citing the huge Toyota car factory project in the northwest of Russia.

    Last year, Mitsubishi Tokyo became Japan's biggest bank and No 7 in the world in terms of capital ($39.9 billion). Its $980 billion in assets, make it 12th in the world and second in Japan for this index. Its market value is around $55 billion.

    Apart from its core asset, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi, which has $757 billion in assets and $25.6 billion in capital, Mitsubishi Tokyo includes The Mitsubishi Trust and Banking Corporation, Mitsubishi Securities, and Union Bank of California.

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