Ahead of the full year 2009 VTB Group results due to be released on 30 March 2010, and as part of our efforts to improve transparency, we would like to inform investors and analysts of two developments which will impact the Group's 2009 results. These relate to changes in the accounting treatment of certain equity securities and the consolidation impact of the acquisition of control of Sistema-Hals as part of our debt restructuring agreement.
Since the end of 2008, the Group has applied mark-to-model accounting to certain of its equity securities where active markets were absent. As a result of the market recovery and in accordance with requirements of IFRS, the Group has resumed marking-to-market substantially all of its listed equity securities which had been previously marked-to-model. This will have negative impact currently estimated as RUB 6 billion upon the Group's financial results for the fourth quarter of 2009. The Group views marking-to-market as the preferred valuation technique going forward, subject to sustainability of the equity markets recovery.
As a result of taking control over Sistema-Hals in the fourth quarter of 2009, the Group will consolidate Sistema-Hals’ operating results into VTB's consolidated IFRS financial statements for the year 2009. The Group has undertaken an independent valuation of the property portfolio of Sistema-Hals to assess goodwill arising from the acquisition, as a difference between the fair value of assets and liabilities of Sistema-Hals at the date of the acquisition of control. The Group intends to book a conservative impairment charge to this goodwill which is currently estimated at RUB 4 billion. This decision is being taken to ensure transparency in managing this asset going forward.
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JSC VTB Bank and its subsidiaries (the VTB Group or the Group) is a leading Russian banking group, offering a wide range of banking services and products across Russia, certain CIS countries and in selected countries of Western Europe, Asia and Africa.
As of September 30, 2009 the Group had a network of 949 branches located across Russia, CIS and Europe, of which VTB24 retail branches totaled 476. Today outside of Russia, the Group operates through five subsidiary banks located in the CIS (Armenia, Ukraine, Belarus, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan), subsidiary bank in Georgia, five banks located in Europe (Austria, Germany, France, UK and Cyprus), one subsidiary bank and one financial company in Africa (Angola, Namibia), and an associated bank in Vietnam. VTB also has branches in India and China and a presence in Singapore and UAE through the branches of its UK investment banking subsidiary. VTB has operated under a full banking license, №1,000 from the Central Bank of the Russian Federation, since 1990.
The Group’s business franchise spans corporate, retail and investment banking. In corporate banking, the Group provides a broad range of commercial banking services and products including corporate lending, foreign trade transactions, syndicated loans, deposit and settlement services, as well as custody services, leasing and treasury services to large- and medium-sized corporations and financial institutions. In retail banking, VTB offers financial services, including deposit accounts, lending, debit and credit cards and transaction services, to individuals and small-sized corporations. In investment banking it provides debt capital markets underwriting, project financing, merger and acquisition financing, advisory services, asset management and venture funds.
The number of employees of the Group at 30 September 2009 was 40,142. The Government of the Russian Federation is VTB’s main shareholder and owns, through the Federal Property Management Agency, 85.5% of its registered share capital.