MOSCOW, July 1 Russia's central bank has decided to sell the shares it holds in the Moscow Exchange, the bank said in a statement on Tuesday, with financial market sources saying that a public offering for half these shares is now under way.
Details provided to Reuters by banking sources showed that the central bank has initiated an accelerated secondary public offering to sell an 11.75 percent stake, representing 50 percent of the bank's holding in the exchange.
A financial source told Reuters that the organisers are aiming for a share price of around 60 roubles ($1.75) per share and to raise up to $500 million.
Moscow Exchange shares closed at 65.05 on Tuesday.
The Moscow Exchange - Russia's main venue for trading in stocks, bonds, currencies and derivatives - raised 15 billion roubles ($470 million) in an initial public offering last year, with an IPO price of 55 roubles per share.
The central bank did not sell any shares at the time but, according to government plans, is supposed to exit the exchange's share capital no later than two years after the IPO.
The bank said that its decision to sell its shares is aimed at fulfilling a federal law from 2013 that envisages the central bank selling out completely from the exchange by January 1 2016.
It also said that Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, VTB Capital and Sberbank CIB are acting as financial consultants for several deals to sell shares, with Gazprombank and Citibank acting as co-managers. ($1 = 34.2990 Russian Rubles) (Reporting by Olga Popova, Lidia Kelly and Jason Bush. Editing by Jane Merriman)