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    Govt. approves VTB's additional share issue in May 2007

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    MOSCOW, December 21 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian government has approved an additional share issue by state-controlled foreign trade bank Vneshtorgbank (VTB) in May 2007, the economics minister said Thursday.

    "Up to 50% of the shares must be placed in Russia, and the remaining shares on foreign trading floors," German Gref said.

    Gref said VTB will issue additional shares worth 90-120 billion rubles (about $3.4-4.6 billion) for its initial public offering in 2007, and that the government's stake in the bank will decline to 75% plus one share.

    The government stake will then remain unchanged until 2010, the minister said.

    In 2010 VTB will issue additional shares worth 210-250 billion rubles (about $7.9-9.5 billion), and the state's participation in the bank's charter capital will further drop to 50% plus one share, unless the government decides to buy part of the issue, Gref said.

    VTB's market capitalization is expected to rise to 440-480 billion rubles (about $16.7-18.2 billion) by 2010 and to 1,100-1,250 billion rubles (about $41.8-47 billion) by 2015, the economics minister said.

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