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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Potanin Sells Bank to Scandinavians

OSLO -- Norwegian bank DnB NOR plans to take over a mid-size Russian bank based in the Arctic port of Murmansk, DnB NOR said Thursday.

The bank said it would acquire 97.3 percent of Monchebank for $21 million from Moscow-based Rosbank, one of Russia's biggest banks, owned by metals tycoon Vladimir Potanin.

DnB NOR -- the third Scandinavian bank to enter the Russian market -- said the acquisition would give it a foothold in a region fitting into its three core areas of energy, fishing and shipping.

"The acquisition of Monchebank will give us a sound position in an area with exciting prospects once the large oil and gas fields in the Barents Sea are due for extraction," Svein Aaser, group chief executive at DnB NOR, said in the statement.

Monchebank, which currently has 180 employees, was set up in 1990 in Murmansk as a commercial bank focusing on operations with metals companies working in the minerals-rich region.