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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

NRB Said to Pay $135M for Aeroflot Stake

National Reserve Bank, a private bank, said in a statement Wednesday it had bought 26 percent of state carrier Aeroflot from Millhouse Capital asset management firm.

"The deal will help Aeroflot's development and speed reform in the local plane-building industry," the statement said.

The bank did not say how much it paid for the stake, but a source close to the deal put the figure at $135 million.

National Reserve Bank has been involved in a dispute over leasing Ilyushin-96 planes.

Ilyushin Finance, in which the bank has a 37 percent stake, has the option to supply Aeroflot with four Ilyushin-96 aircraft, although Aeroflot has not yet decided to buy them.

Analysts and traders have said the news is potentially negative as National Reserve Bank is closely linked to Russia's aircraft producers and may use its influence in Aeroflot to force the company to purchase domestic planes it does not need.

The government owns about 51 percent of Aeroflot, while company management has about 15 percent and about 10 percent is in free float.

Millhouse, controlled by one of Russia's best-known businessmen, Roman Abramovich, was set up in October 2001. It controls 88 percent of No. 5 oil major Sibneft and half of the world's second-biggest aluminum company, Russian Aluminum. (Reuters, MT)