Category Archives: Vnesheconombank

1/1/16: Another VEB update: things are getting crunchier…

And another update to the long-running saga of VEB - Vnesheconombank - that I covered over a week ago here:

Latest rumour mill is that VEB will need "AUD24.67 billion" - which is within the range we've heard for some time already.

About the only new bits we get from Moscow are:

The key point of the VEB saga, however, is still not adding up. As covered in my post, VEB is facing some USD19.3 billion in debt maturing through 2025 with less than USD8 billion due through 2018. So why USD18 billion in capital hole, then?

Moodys note from earlier this week explained (emphasis mine):

"VEB Group's problem loans/gross loans ratio (including impaired but not overdue loans) increased to 39.3% as of end-2014 compared with 19.7% as of end-2013. Moody's estimates that the bank has already recognized a substantial portion of these problem loans and therefore further growth of problem loans should be contained. However, VEB remains highly exposed to single-name concentration risk and risks associated with its subsidiaries, particularly the Russian banks bailed out in 2008-09 and Prominvestbank in Ukraine.

Moody's notes that VEB's profitability metrics have substantially deteriorated, as reflected in its return on average assets (RoAA) ratio of -3.7% in the first half of 2015, following RoAA of -7.2% posted in 2014. ...At the same time, its net interest margin declined to 1.9% in H1 2015 relative to 2.7% in 2014, which reflected growing funding costs and an increasing problem loans.

Moody's anticipates some improvements in VEB's core profitability metrics following a normalization of Russian financial market conditions and gradual stabilization of problem loan levels. Nevertheless, VEB will not achieve breakeven over next 12-18 months due to still high provisioning charges and weak core profitability metrics.

VEB's standalone credit worthiness is also supported by its capital levels, which have historically been maintained by the government. VEB's statutory capital ratio (N1.0) was 12.4% as of H1 2015, which was higher than the regulatory minimum of 10%, which VEB has to respect due to its Eurobond covenant. Moody's notes that the government's regular capital injections have totalled around RUB559 billion in Tier 1 capital and $6 billion in Tier 2 capital since 2007. However, future capital increases may come in a less tangible form, e.g. via the provision of cheaper funding resulting in a fair value gain under IFRS, rather than through paid-up capital."

There are some EUR 9 billion worth of eurobonds issued by the VEB still outstanding.

In other words, we have a 'development bank' (not a retail bank) that is bound by 10% capital ratio, that, absent that ratio would require much less capital than USD18 billion. It will be interesting to see how Moscow can restructure capital in VEB to avoid an absolutely massive capital blackhole, but I suspect there will be some financial acrobatics involved.

23/12/15: Vnesheconombank: where things stay ugly

As reported by BOFIT, Russia’s 4th largest and state-owned Vnesheconombank  (VEB Group which technically is not a bank, but a development bank and an owner of a number of banks, so as such VEB is not subject to CBR supervision) requires estimated funding supports at EUR15–20 billion “to cover at least the next few years”.  Per Bloomberg, VEB has been seeking USD23 billion “to support long-term growth and pay off the upcoming loan” (data as of November 23). VEB total assets in Russia amount to ca EUR45 billion, which, per BOFIT, “would make VEB Russia’s fourth largest bank with holdings that correspond to about 4 % of the banking sector’s total assets”. Overall, VEB holds 2.8 trillion Rubles in loans assets and around 1 trillion Rubles in other assets.

To-date, VEB received EUR8 billion in deposits from the National Welfare Fund and about EUR500 million in other monies (most of which came from the Central Bank’s 2014 profits).

Per both, Bloomberg and BOFIT: VEB has been a major lender behind Sochi Winter Olympics 2014. New lending increased total loans held by the bank by some 25% in Ruble terms in 2013 before doubling loans in 2014. VEB started aggressive loans expansion in 2007 since when its assets base grew almost 10-fold. Over 2015, bank-held loans posted some serious deterioration in quality forcing bank to set aside significant reserves to cover potential losses. Per Reuters report, “S&P estimates some 500 billion roubles of VEB's loans were directed by the government and are therefore regarded as relatively risky. While the huge investments made in Sochi have generated public discussion in Russia, far less attention has been given to no less massive investments VEB made in Ukraine. "That's still on their books and they keep rolling those loans over. Of course it's only a question of time before they accept losses on those assets," said S&P's Vartapetov. In an interview in December 2013, VEB Chairman Vladimir Dmitriev said the bank had via Russian investors ploughed $8 billion into Ukrainian steel plants, mainly in the Donbass region, since ravaged in a separatist conflict. He said the investment had supported 40,000 Ukrainian workers, but did not say how the Russian economy had benefited.” Overall, Russian banks’ continued presence and even growth in Ukraine - while puzzling to some external observers - can be explained by the significant role these banks play in the Ukrainian economy.

In 2014, VEB posted full year loss of USD4.5 billion / RUB250 billion and in 1H 2015 losses totalled USD1.5 billion. VEB’s Ukrainian subsidiary was one of the big drivers for these. Based on the figures, VEB posted the largest loss of any Russian company in 2014.  The top three largest loss making companies in 2014 were: Vnesheconombank, followed by the steelmaking giant Mechel (loss of 167 billion rubles) and the monopoly Russian Railways (losses of 99 billion rubles).

In addition, VEB holds some USD19.3 billion of debt maturing through 2025 (see chart from Bloomberg) with EUR9 billion of this in eurobonds:

VEB is subject to both EU and US sanctions which effectively shut VEB access to funding markets and the bank will require between EUR2.5 and 3 billion for debt servicing in 2016 alone. This week, VEB secured a five-year loan of 10 billion yuan or EUR1.4 billion from China Development Bank.

Recently, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov stated that VEB requires as much as USD20 billion in funding (ca 1.7% of Russian GDP), and that VEB is expected to sell some of its assets to fund part of the gap.

Per Bloomberg, “the finance ministry’s proposals include exchanging the lender’s Eurobonds for Russian government securities, Vedomosti reported Nov. 24. Other options on the table include a local government bond offering for 1.5 trillion rubles to recapitalize the bank, and transferring bad assets from VEB’s balance sheet to the state, according to newspaper Kommersant.”