News: Bank Rossiya may acquire a stake in Tele2 Russia from VTB as part of the latter lender ' s plans to divest the telecoms operator, Reuters reports. The plans would see St Petersburg-based Bank Rossiya buy a 30% stake in the Norway-based Tele2 subsidiary as an intermediary before an eventual sale of the entire company. Most observers expect to see the company sold to another party such as Russia ' s fifth-largest operator Rostelecom .
BMI View: While we were right to call the peak of Russia's credit cycle in Q312, we believe the extent of the slowdown over the next few quarters will depend increasingly on policy trajectory. At present we forecast loan growth to drop to 14.0% by end-2013, from 19.2% last year, on the back of weaker domestic demand (see, 'Sub-3.0% Growth In 2013', May 1), with asset growth to come in at a more modest 12.0% (from 18.9% in 2012). Loan financing should be backed by a robust 15.0% growth in banks' deposit base, thanks to a steady increase in real wages, keeping the sector's aggregate loan-to-deposit ratio stable around the 1.1-1.2 level.