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Bank HaPoalim may acquire Russian bank

Bank HaPoalim Ltd. will agree to buy a Russian bank after finishing an investigation of its finances this week.

Hapoalim will pay $150 million for a 74 percent stake in the unidentified lender, the newspaper reported, without saying where it got the information. The price represents about 3.5 times the bank's book value, it said.

Chief Executive officer Zvi Ziv and Chairman Danny Dankner visited Moscow two weeks ago and agreed in principle to buy the bank in Russia, perhaps SDM-Bank.

Bank Hapoalim wants to use this investment to increase its retail presence. Russia looks prime for expansion. Hapoalim believes the Russian bank will be able to earn a 12 percent to 13 percent return on equity.

Source: Bloomberg
Date: 06.12.2007 [148]

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