RIA NOVOSTI. Russia’s second largest bank by assets — VTB Bank — will sell within 12 to 18 months to French banking group Societe Generale (SG) its equity stake in Rosbank, whose major shareholder is SG, persons who attended a meeting held between VTB Bank CEO Andrey Kostin and minority shareholders told RIA Novosti.

In early December VTB Capital, affiliated with VTB, acquired 19.28% of Rosbank fr om Pharanco Holdings ltd. that was held by Vladimir Potanin’s Interros Group. “This is not a strategic acquisition of the bank. This equity position will be sold within a certain period, 12 to 18 months. VTB Bank plans to generate some profit from the sale," a participant of the meeting held with minority shareholders specified.

On December 15, 2010 the Bank of Russia registered a report on Rosbank’s additional share issue that was performed as part of its merger with other Russian subsidiary banks of SG (Rusfinance Bank and DeltaCredit). After the SPO SG’s interest in Rosbank equaled 71.99%, VTB Capital’s came to 11.13%, VTB Bank’s equity stake amounted to 0.78%, Pharanco Holdings ltd. holds a 6.6% interest and ICFI (Cyprus) Lim ited controls 7.43% of Rosbank.

For the record, in February 2010 the bank’s shareholders agreed to merge Rosbank and other Russian subsidiary banks owned by Societe Generale (BSGV, DeltaCredit and Rusfinance Bank). Upon completion of Societe Generale’s asset consolidation, the merged group will become the largest among foreign banks that operate in Russia and will rank seventh by assets with leadership positions in the retail segment.