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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

SocGen to Control Rosbank

Societe Generale, France's second-biggest bank by market value, said it would seek approval to acquire a majority stake in Rosbank, the lender controlled by billionaire Vladimir Potanin.

The company will ask the Central Bank and the Federal Anti-Monopoly Service for approval to exercise an option to boost its stake in Rosbank from about 20 percent to just over 50 percent, Societe Generale spokeswoman Stephanie Carson-Parker said Monday.

The option can be exercised until the end of 2008.

The transaction would make Societe Generale the largest foreign banking group in Russia with assets of more than $13.5 billion, said Dmitry Dmitriyev, a banking analyst at Deutsche Bank's Moscow brokerage unit.

"We believe that this announcement reconfirms our view on the prospects for the Russian banking sector," Dmitriyev wrote in a research note.

Societe Generale expects to benefit from its expansion in Russia as a new middle class, estimated to number from 30 million to 50 million people, emerges in the country, leading to a boom in consumer spending, Societe Generale chairman Daniel Bouton said during an October presentation in Moscow.

The plan by Societe Generale to boost its stake in Rosbank was reported Monday by Kommersant.

Societe Generale bought a stake in Rosbank in June 2006 after Rosbank called off plans for an initial public offering in London.