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Report: Uniastrum Bank and Orient Express Bank ponder merger

hasrequested approval from Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service for a merger withPJSC Orient Express Bank,Vedomosti reported July 7.

If theregulator agrees to the merger, Boc Russia Holdings, through which businessmanArtem Avetisyan controls Uniastrum, will get a 40.01% holding in OrientExpress. The competition watchdog is expected to issue its decision within 30days.

InJune, Uniastrum purchasedpart of Orient Express Bank's 3 billion Russian ruble share issue, securing astake of about 25% in the lender.

As of July 6, US$1 wasequivalent to 64.55 Russian rubles.