Russia's Alfa Group says Ukraine instability hurts financial position

MOSCOW, March 31 Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:34am EDT

MOSCOW, March 31 (Reuters) - Russia's largest privately owned financial group, Alfa Group, said instability in Ukraine was hurting its financial position and estimated its exposure to the neighbouring country at $781 million.

Turmoil in Ukraine, where protesters toppled pro-Moscow President Viktor Yanukovich and a pro-Western government has been installed, has pushed the economy to the brink of bankruptcy, worrying lenders about outstanding loans.

"Continued instability in Ukraine has a significant negative impact on the operations and financial position of ABH Ukraine Group," ABH Financial Limited said on Monday

ABH Financial Limited is part of Alfa Group, which includes Russia's Alfa Bank.

At the end of 2013, ABH Financial Limited, controlled by billionaires Mikhail Fridman, German Khan and Alexei Kuzmichova, had balance sheet commitments from ABH Ukraine Group of $237 million and loans of $544 million to Ukrainian borrowers.

ABH Ukraine, also part of Alfa Group, controls Alfa Bank Ukraine.

ABH Financial said it was looking at various ways of improving liquidity, including possible help from shareholders.

Separately, the board of Alfa Bank said it would sell its 19.9 percent stake in Alfa Bank Ukraine. It did not name a buyer. The remaining 80 percent is owned by ABH Ukraine Group. (Reporting by Oksana Kobzeva, Editing by Timothy Heritage and Erica Billingham)

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