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Russian government plans to cut stakes in leading state banks

The Russian government plans to cut its stake in two of the country's top banks, Sberbank and Vneshtorgbank, as part of a long term state bank development strategy, according to local media.

The state holding in the banks will be cut to 50% plus one share, local newspaper Kommersant reported, quoting Kremlin aide Arkady Dvorkovich. The plan to sell off shares is part of a strategy being worked out by the National Banking Council, Mr Dvorkovich was reported as saying, although no specific timeframe was given.

It means a gradual lowering of the state stake in Vneshtorgbank. The first stage would be an initial public offering. As for Sberbank, this will happen when the bank has to increase capital in order to develop further, Mr Dvorkovich said.