VTB held its first annual general meeting for minority shareholders on 28 May 2008. The event, which took place on LenExpo Fairgrounds, St.-Petersburg, was attended by more than 300 shareholders. VTB Deputy Chairpersons Vasily Titov and Yulia Chupina and the Board Member Nikolai Tsekhomsky presented at the meeting and responded to shareholder questions.
At the meeting, Nikolai Tsekhomsky described highlights of VTB's financial performance for 2007. In particular, he said that in the past year VTB showed remarkable growth in all the areas of its business, resulting in the highest-ever profit made by the Group. Because of this strong performance, the Supervisory Council recommended that the company should distribute 50% of the net profit. Last year dividends were about 20% of total profit.
In his review on "the Russian banking sector during the crisis in global financial markets", Vasily Titov pointed out that despite the turmoil in financial markets, VTB maintained its focus on development and continued to grow the business, increase market share and enter new market segments. "Although the Russian economy will not be immune to the financial crisis, our banking system clearly demonstrated its strength and resilience. This year we expect VTB to retain its leading positions in terms of absolute performance indicators and to continue the development of its business," - said Vasily Titov.
In her address, Yulia Chupina answered questions related to VTB Group's strategic development. In particular, she pointed out that this year VTB would continue vigorously expanding its network in Russia and other CIS countries and developing its investment business, which will result in stronger market positions and greater fee income.
VTB Deputy Chairperson Vasily Titov
At the meeting, a broad range of matters was discussed, including dividend policy, the performance of equities on stock exchanges, trading of equities, the current performance of the Bank and the outlook for 2008. There was also discussion on improving corporate governance and communicating better with shareholders. VTB emphasised that its new status as a public company has been a catalyst for the company to launch a number of initiatives to address these areas. In particular, two independent directors were elected to the Supervisory Council in charge of, among other duties, the protection of the interests of minority shareholders. In addition, the Audit Committee has been established, and the Code of Corporate Conduct and the Code of Ethics have been adopted. The Regulation on dividends and the information policy of the Bank will shortly go forward for approval. These initiatives will bring much greater disclosure and improve transparency for the Bank's shareholders.