Uniastrum Bank may be folded into Orient Express Bank, the Federal Anti-Trust Service considered and approved the relevant request.

As the service reported, as a result of the merger BoC Russia (Holdings) Ltd., which owns Uniastrum Bank, will be entitled to dispose of 40.01% of Orient Express Bank voting shares.

The lending institution's executives earlier said that no final merger decision was adopted. Documents were submitted to the anti-trust body if shareholders decide to take the banks under one roof, Orient Express Bank management board chairman Alexey Kordichev claimed. According to him, the bank's shareholders and management have been analyzing whether the merger is practicable.

"We believe that the banking sector's consolidation would be helpful, and would like to expand business on partnership terms," the Orient Express Bank management board chairman said. He added that the merger will help save around Rub 3 bln on the cost side.

For the record, this June Uniastrum Bank bought half of Orient Express Bank's additional share issue (worth Rub 3 bln), gaining a 24.9% stake, with the rest purchased by Baring Vostok companies (at that time they owned 63.7% of the bank). The bank keeps the updated shareholding confidential.

The merged lender's assets could be around Rub 257.5 bln, thus allowing the bank to become a Top 40 lender.

As a Banki.ru source said, after Uniastrum Bank is folded into Orient Express Bank the former's brand, as owners and top managers of both lending institutions think, would cease to exist.