Banco Finantia ‘gets rid’ of Russian shareholder

  • ECO News
  • 9 November 2022

The bank just bought 12.2% stake that belonged to VTB. Money from the deal was frozen by the authorities due to the sanctions imposed on Moscow due to the war in Ukraine.

Banco Finantia no longer has Russians in its shareholder structure, after buying the 12.2% stake that belonged to VTB Group, according to a source close to the matter. The Russian bank was one entity targeted in February by European sanctions on Russia following the war in Ukraine. The value of the deal is a secret. But the authorities froze the money.

The Portuguese bank confirms to ECO that VTB is no longer a shareholder but makes no further comment. ECO knows that the deal with the Russian financial group was signed last week, with the operation being completed after obtaining all the authorisations from the relevant authorities, including the Bank of Portugal, which also declined to comment.
The changes in the shareholder structure are already visible on the bank’s website. VTB Capital PE Investment Holding (Cyprus) no longer appears on the list of shareholders with over 5% of share capital.

The Russian financial group had 12.2% of the bank’s capital. It was Banco Finantia itself that bought this stake for its shares, and the stakes of the other shareholders did not change. Finantipar, a company owned by former chairman António Guerreiro, is the main shareholder. The bank now has four other shareholders with stakes above 5%: Arendelle S.A., Natixis (France), Erste Abwicklingsanstalt (Germany) and Surfolk S.L. (Spain).

The value of the deal remains a secret. ECO knows that the proceeds of the sale have been frozen because of European Union sanctions on Moscow over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which began on February 24. VTB was one of the first institutions targeted by restrictive measures and was even cut off from the SWITF international transaction system.
Finantia closed 2021 with a €482 million equity, giving the Russians’ stake a value of around €58 million.

Inside the bank, led by Marta Eirea (CEO) and António Vila-Cova (chairman), VTB was seen as a passive shareholder. But since the war started, that Russian stake put Banco Finantia on the media radar. The Portuguese bank assured it would comply with all the measures that the European authorities would impose.

In its 2021 annual report, Banco Finantia said it had “no balances or transactions” with its Russian shareholder.
It reported a direct exposure of 0.49% to the public debt of the Russian Federation. It also had exposure to the public debt of Ukraine (0.21%) and the debt of entities domiciled in Belarus (0.22%). Direct exposure to these three geographies totalled 0.92% of the balance sheet total, a figure that on March 29, 2022, was around 0.23%, as revealed in last year’s balance sheet.