CEE & Central West Asia: Best Regional Bank for BRI 2017
With a strong track record of engagement in Asia, as well as coverage of key markets across CEE from Central Asia to the Balkans, VTB is ideally placed to take advantage of the Belt and Road Initiative.
VTB Capital, the investment banking arm of the Russian state-controlled bank, set up shop in Singapore in 2008 and added an office in Hong Kong three years later. In 2010, its parent bank became the first-ever non-Chinese emerging markets entity to issue a bond in dim sum format. More recently, VTB Capital, whose deputy CEO is Riccardo Orcel, has been a prime mover in the drive to position Moscow as an offshore renminbi hub. Further testimony to the group’s close links with China was provided in August when VTB partnered with online retail firm Alibaba to bring its payments platform Alipay to Russia.
The pullback by European investment banks from Asia has also created opportunities for the Russian group to act as a conduit for Chinese capital into CEE. In 2015, VTB Capital was as financial adviser to China Merchants Holdings on its acquisition – with consortium partners Cosco and CIC – of a 65% stake in Kumport, Turkey’s third-largest container terminal. Located close to Istanbul on the Sea of Marmara, Kumport occupies a strategic position on the New Silk Road.
VTB Capital has also emerged as an important player in transportation infrastructure financing in its home market.
The bank acted as investor, lender, bond arranger and financial adviser for the R80 billion ($1.4 billion) M11 toll road project. The new highway, which will provide a crucial additional link between Moscow and St Petersburg, is due to open next year.
VTB also signed a landmark concession agreement with the Republic of Bashkortostan in June to finance, construct and operate a toll road linking the region’s capital, Ufa, to the M5 section of Russia’s transcontinental highway.