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Fitch upgrades Vneshtorgbank's ratings

25 November 2004

Fitch Ratings, a globally recognized international rating agency, has upgraded Vneshtorgbank`s ratings. Its long-term rating went up from `BB+` to investment `BBB-`, stable outlook.

The ratings were raised after Fitch announced an upgrading of Russia`s sovereign rating to investment `BBB-` from `BB+`. The fact that Vneshtorgbank was awarded ratings at the sovereign ceiling is reflective of a system-forming role of VTB in the Russian banking industry and of a solid support by its major shareholder, the Russian government.

Fitch Ratings has also revised the rating of VTB`s USD2bln EMTN Program. The four issues of eurobonds placed by VTB Capital S.A., Luxemburg, and exceeding USD1.6 billion were upgraded from `BB+` to `BBB-`. The upgrade will certainly give a further boost to Vneshtorgbank`s efficient borrowing in international money markets, with the funds raised to be channeled into implementing the Bank`s Development Strategy which implies a stronger financing of the Russian economy, including mortgage and consumer lending development, as well as small business support.

Tied to the upgraded ratings of Vneshtorgbank, long-term rating of Russian Commercial Bank of Cyprus, a VTB subsidiary, was also raised from `BB` to `BB+`, stable outlook.

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