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Report: VEB to merge, keep units Globex and Sviaz-Bank

Vnesheconombank intends to merge Globex Commercial Bank JSC and Interregional Bank for Settlements of the Telecommunications & Postal Services, or Sviaz-Bank, but abandoned plans to sell the units in the near future, Kommersant reported March 22, citing sources close to VEB and the Russian government.

Vnesheconombank's management board has approved the merger, and the decision will be put forward for approval at the next meeting of VEB's supervisory board. The lenders will merge under Sviaz-Bank's license by the end of 2018, the newspaper noted, adding that the sale of the merged lender would be unlikely to attract any investors because of the scale of its distressed assets.

However, VEB's press office reportedly told Kommersant that the bank continues to look for opportunities to sell the subsidiaries, and their merger is just a possibility.

Vnesheconombank decided to sell the lenders as part of its 2016 strategy to divest noncore assets. A number of potential buyers, including JSC Alfa-Bank, units of Rosneft, NPF Blagosostoyanie and Public Stock Co. Orient Express Bank shareholder Artem Avetisyan, expressed their interest in the banks, but the transactions fell through, the newspaper said.