(Adds further details from interview)
* Onexim to dispose of RenCap non-core assets -CEO
* Will hold on to minority stake in RUSAL
By Polina Devitt
MOSCOW, Nov 19 Russian tycoon Mikhail
Prokhorov's Onexim Group may sell Renaissance Capital's non-core
assets as part of its plan to return the emerging markets
investment bank to profit, the group's chief executive said.
Onexim's CEO Dmitry Razumov told Reuters the group will not
consider selling the loss-making bank it last week agreed to buy
from founder Steven Jennings, until it is consistently making
RenCap is the last of the Moscow-based investment banks to
lose its independence after its birth during Russia's turbulent
market reforms of the 1990s.
"We... are ready to share our resources for the company's
business development. Our current aim is to make Renaissance
Capital profitable again," Razumov said in emailed answers to
questions from Reuters.
Renaissance Capital had lost ground to the aggressive
investment banking units of state-controlled Sberbank
and VTB, which have been able to deploy their balance
sheets and sovereign backing to win business.
Onexim's owner Prokhorov, who ran on a liberal platform and
lost to Vladimir Putin in this year's Russian presidential
election, has a fortune estimated by Forbes magazine at $13
billion, including a stake in aluminium giant RUSAL,
gold miner Polyus Gold and the U.S. Brooklyn Nets
Onexim has no plans to sell its 17 percent stake in RUSAL
despite disagreements with CEO and main owner Oleg Deripaska,
who refuses to sell its one-quarter stake in nickel miner
Norilsk Nickel to cut its $10.7 billion debt burden.
"We do not plan to sell our stake in RUSAL," said Razumov,
who stood down last week from the board of RUSAL and was
replaced by his deputy Christophe Charlier.
"As an investor, we are interested in receiving investment
income, but it would be hard to do so with the current value of
this asset. We don't rule out anything in the future."
Onexim's deal to acquire the half of RenCap it did not
already own came less than a week after Moody's downgraded the
credit rating of holding company Renaissance Financial Holdings
Ltd. Sources said the ratings cut triggered a liquidity crunch
at Renaissance Capital.
"Renaissance Capital will now be able to develop more
effectively, because none of its resources will be tied up with
other assets," said Razumov, adding that RenCap had already cut
operating costs by 48 percent this year.
Deputy CEO John Hyman will step up to become CEO of RenCap,
replacing New Zealander Jennings, whose Renaissance Group will
retain its asset management operations, real estate development
interests and African operations.
"We aim to ensure continuity of the team," Razumov said.
Razumov said RenCap may sell its non-core Ukrainian Agrarian
Investments and Russia Forest Products, and will further seek to
optimise its costs.
"Assets like Renaissance Capital and Renaissance Credit are
able to generate significant investment income for us, as long
as they are developed correctly," Razumov said.
(Reporting by Polina Devitt; Additional reporting by Katya
Golubkova; Editing by Douglas Busvine and Mike Nesbit)