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RBI cancels planned Strabag deal

RBI cancels planned Strabag deal
RBI is the largest Western bank still operating in Russia. (APA/Schlager)

The Strabag stake was previously owned by Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, who was sanctioned over Russia’s attack on Ukraine. The RBI wanted to take over this block of shares and thus bring its assets frozen in Russia to Austria. Now the RBI is canceling the deal because of the risk of sanctions.

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“Out of caution”

“In recent exchanges with the relevant authorities, Raiffeisen Bank International AG (RBI) was unable to obtain the necessary comfort to carry out the planned transaction,” the RBI said on Wednesday. “The bank has decided to walk away from the transaction out of caution.”

  • From the archive: RBI: No timetable for Strabag deal, protests at general meeting

RBI boss Johann Strobl announced a week ago that he would abandon the takeover plan if it entailed a risk of sanctions. The planned transaction was viewed critically by US authorities, among others – until recently, however, several managers of the Raiffeisen Group were confident that the deal, originally planned for the first quarter of 2024, was on track and could be carried out.

28.5 million shares

The RBI announced in December that it wanted to acquire 28.5 million shares in Strabag worth more than one billion euros through its Russian subsidiary. The share package was held by the Russian MKAO Rasperia Trading, which was controlled by Oleg Deripaska. Most recently, Rasperia was sold to a Russian investor called Iliadis, who the bank says is not sanctioned. According to RBI’s original, now rejected plan, the shares were to be acquired by the Russian subsidiary and then transferred to the parent company in Vienna as a dividend in kind.

In its statement on Wednesday, the financial institution stated that it would continue to pursue the planned deconsolidation of its Russian subsidiary regardless of the collapsed deal. The RBI has been examining its options for some time, and the European Central Bank (ECB) recently called on the bank to accelerate its withdrawal from Russia.

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