Cartesian takes stake in Moscow exchange

By Courtney Weaver in Moscow, Financial Times, 20.07.2012

Cartesian Capital Group will take a stake in the Moscow Exchange Micex-RTS alongside the Russian Direct Investment Fund, the $10bn Kremlin-sponsored private equity fund, ahead of the exchange’s initial public offering next year.

Cartesian, which focuses on emerging markets, will take a 2.5 per cent stake in the exchange, while RDIF, which is already a shareholder, will raise its stake from 1.3 to 2.7 per cent.

The funds are buying the shares from Italy’s UniCredit, which has lost two-thirds of its market value over the past year and will sell down its stake from about 10 per cent to 6.2 per cent.

Kirill Dmitriev, chief executive of RDIF, said the Kremlin fund was interested in increasing its stake in the Moscow Exchange further alongside foreign partners Goldman Sachs, Templeton Asset Management and BlackRock.

The three international funds announced in June that, together with RDIF, they would invest at least $100m in Russian companies that were preparing to go public and had annual revenues of at least $500m.

Mr Dmitriev said the second deal could take place within the next two to three months, provided UniCredit or a different shareholder decided to sell down its stake, or the company was willing to issue additional treasury shares. “It’s just a question of time and the availability of shares,” he told the Financial Times.

In a statement, Mikhail Alekseev, chief executive of UniCredit Russia, suggested the bank would hold on to the remainder of its Moscow Exchange stake. “We are keen to remain one of the largest shareholders in Micex-RTS and we are committed … to foster its development and support the company on its way to the IPO.”