Putin permits Rosbank to acquire the Russian assets of Societe Generale.

MOSCOW: Russian President Vladimir Putin on Sunday signed a decree clearing the way for Rosbank to purchase stakes in leading Russian companies owned by Societe Generale.

According to the decree, Rosbank will be able to purchase SocGen’s holdings in major Russian blue chip companies, metals firms like Norilsk Nickel and Severstal, and energy producers like Rosneft and Gazprom.

The Societe Generale opted not to respond. As of the end of June 2021, the bank’s exposure to Russia was 22.4 billion euros, based on data from the European Banking Authority (EBA).

For transactions involving Russian assets, companies from so-called “unfriendly” nations—those that imposed sanctions on Russia after the Kremlin decided to send troops into Ukraine in February 2022—need special permission from Moscow.

According to the news agency Interfax, SocGen has relatively small individual stakes in Russian businesses, such as 0.04% in Gazprom and 0.02% in Alrosa, the largest diamond-producing company in the world.

billions of roubles
billions of roubles

Nonetheless, the assets being evaluated have a combined worth of “billions of roubles.”

In May 2022, Societe Generale withdrew from Russia and closed the sale of its local subsidiary Rosbank to the Interros group, a company connected to Russian oligarch Vladimir Potanin.

According to Putin, the sanctions imposed by the West represent an economic war on Russia.

Russian state assets worth hundreds of billions of dollars, along with some Russian investors’ and businessmen’s assets, have been blocked in the West. Ninety percent of Berlin’s fuel is supplied by the Schwedt oil refinery, which was owned by Russia until Germany took over last year.

Simultaneously, Russian businessmen have taken over significant Western assets in Russia, such as Danone’s businesses and Carlsberg’s eight breweries.

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