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Report: Uniastrum Bank, Orient Express Bank proceed with merger plans, shareholder says

Theshareholders of Commercial BankUniastrum (LLC) and PJSC Orient Express Bank are set to approve the mergerof the two lenders Oct. 7, RBK Daily reportedSept. 30, citing Uniastrum Bank's beneficiary owner, Artem Avetisyan.

Thebusinessman denied recent media reports that the upcoming merger had beensuspended,attributing delays to technical issues. Avetisyan also said the integration,which is supported by the Russian central bank, is expected to reduce operatingcosts by 3 billion Russian rubles per year.

As aresult of the merger, Uniastrum Bank will be integrated into Orient ExpressBank, and its shareholders will get a 40% holding in the merged bank.

Theboard of directors of Orient Express Bank is also set to meet Oct. 7 to discussthe increase of the lender's capital via the issuance of additional shares.

Avetisyanalso said negotiations are planned with Credit Europe Bank Ltd. to join the merged lender.

As of Sept. 30, US$1 wasequivalent to 63.03 Russian rubles.