Barclays Exec Wants to Build On Acquisition of Expobank

LONDON — Barclays wants to build on the recent acquisition of Russian retail and commercial bank Expobank, the chairman of the British bank's investment banking arm said Monday.

Britain's third-biggest bank agreed last month to buy Expobank for ?373 million ($742 million) as part of its strategy to expand in emerging markets.

"First we need a platform, now we have a platform," said Hans-JЪrg Rudloff, chairman of Barclays Capital, when asked about further possible acquisitions in Russia.

"Obviously, we are going to build on that platform very rapidly because with a platform, you always overpay by definition. Then you have to make something out of it. … I'm sure we will," he said on the sidelines of the Russia Investment Roadshow in London.

A veteran player on the country's financial scene, he added that "you buy a platform to save time, to organize, to have a system in place."

Central Bank first deputy chairman Gennady Melikyan said last month that he expected foreigners to control 22 to 24 percent of Russian banks' own capital by the end of 2008, up from the current 16 to 17 percent.

Rudloff, who is a member of the board of Rosneft, also said the worst of the global credit squeeze was over and that policymakers should focus more on inflation than on slowing economic growth.

"From here we will see better days, better times," Rudloff said. "Inflation clearly is a bigger problem right now than the slowdown of economic activity around the world."

Reuters, Bloomberg