BlackRock Inc. (BLK), the world’s biggest asset manager, bought
shares in the Moscow Exchange (INDEXCF) from the Russia Direct
Investment Fund before the bourse’s planned initial public
offering, the Kremlin-backed fund said.
RDIF had a 2.7 percent holding in the bourse, after boosting its
stake in July. The Russian private-equity fund isn’t disclosing the
size of the stake it sold or the price, Quinn Martin, a spokesman,
said by e-mail.
BlackRock, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (GS) and Templeton Asset
Management Ltd. signed an accord with RDIF on June 21 to invest in
Russian companies preparing for initial public offerings. The
Moscow Exchange plans to sell shares next year, Ruben Aganbegyan,
then the president of the bourse, said in an April 17 interview in
“It’s not a very large investment, it’s more the fact that
BlackRock is participating,” Kirill Dmitriev, RDIF’s chief
executive officer, said by phone today.
RDIF may bring one more investor into the Moscow Exchange, Dmitriev
said. The pre-IPO group is looking to invest in companies outside
the oil and gas industries in Russia, Dmitriev said.
In July, RDIF teamed up with Cartesian Capital Group
LLC to buy shares in the Moscow Exchange, which manages the
benchmark Micex Index. The deal was Cartesian’s first in a Russian
company. The whole bourse was valued at about 129 billion rubles
($4.2 billion), Tatyana Elizarova, an analyst at IFC Metropol, said
at the time.
The fund raised its stake in the Moscow Exchange to 2.7 percent in
that transaction, having acquired 1.25 percent in January in a
joint deal with the European Bank for Reconstruction and
Development, which bought 6.29 percent.
“BlackRock is a smart fund with a great reputation,” Roland Nash,
chief investment strategist at Moscow-based Verno Capital, which
manages $200 million in Russian equities, said by phone. “It’s
going to be very good for the Micex and the Russian market in
The Moscow Exchange’s shareholders include Russia’s central bank
and OAO Sberbank, the nation’s biggest lender, according to data on
the exchange’s website.
Aganbegyan, who was leading the exchange’s IPO plans, left this
month to head Moscow-based Otkritie Financial Corp. The bourse
plans to seek more than $1 billion in the IPO next year, “when a
market window is there,” he said in April.
The Moscow bourse was created when the Micex Stock Exchange merged
with the RTS Exchange in December, and offers stock, bond, currency
and futures trading.
The Kremlin established RDIF in 2011 to help lure foreign
investment as the government tries to wean the world’s largest
energy exporter off its dependence on commodity sales.