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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Sberbank Take-Up Falls Short

State-controlled lender Sberbank said Wednesday that existing shareholders had taken up less than half of its major rights issue, below earlier official guidance and market expectations.

The bank said that it had sold 1.64 million shares through the exercise of pre-emptive rights, equivalent to 47 percent of the 3.5 million shares on offer.

That means Sberbank raised 146 billion rubles ($5.6 billion) from holders of the rights, which were priced at 89,000 rubles apiece.

Although the offering remains open to new investors, analysts doubt whether Sberbank would now be able to place anywhere near the full amount, which should boost its balance sheet by $12 billion.

RIA-Novosti reported that Sberbank CEO Andrei Kazmin said: "The number of shares did not interest us. Our task was to sell the maximum volume at a market price."

Kazmin said the Central Bank had bought 892,601 shares at a cost of 79.4 billion rubles, as earlier indicated. The Central Bank's stake in Sberbank will be diluted from the current 63.8 percent as a result.

But wealthy Russian shareholders appear not to have exercised all their rights and there was little take-up among portfolio investors, Kantarovich said.

Alex Kantarovich, chief strategist at MDM Bank, forecast that final proceeds would reach around $7 billion, saying steel tycoon Alisher Usmanov had, according to media reports, committed to buying $800 million in Sberbank stock.

"This figure is OK for Sberbank's development, but if this little is taken, who will then support the share?" he said.