Finland's Evli Bank Grows in Russia

HELSINKI -- Finland's Evli Bank said Monday it had agreed to buy a 49.9 percent stake in corporate financing firm Avanko to expand in Russia, where it expects mid-size companies to seek listings on the Nordic stock exchange OMX.

Finnish Avanko has offices in St. Petersburg and Moscow and operates mainly in Russia. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

"Listing in the OMX will be a good alternative for Russian mid-market companies," Avanko managing director Grigory Dudarev said. "Some have listed on the [London Stock Exchange's] AIM list, and OMX is closer."

Dudarev said Evli and Avanko would advise firms interested in listing to go either for the OMX main list or its smaller-cap First North list.

"An ever-increasing share of our clients plan on expanding to Russia," Evli CEO Maunu Lehtimaki said.