MOSCOW May 6 Azerbaijan's state oil fund SOFAZ
has agreed to invest around $500 million in a new share offering
by VTB, Russia's second-largest bank, the fund said in
e-mailed comments to Reuters.
VTB says it has already received firm orders for all of the
2.5 trillion shares it is selling in Moscow at 4.1 kopecks
apiece, raising 102.5 billion roubles ($3.3 billion) to bolster
Jamala Aliyeva, head of public relations at SOFAZ, said the
fund had been investing in Russian money market instruments,
fixed-income securities and commercial real estate since 2012.
The VTB investment marked a further step to strengthen its
presence in Russia.
In the e-mail, she said SOFAZ would hold around 3 percent of
VTB's share capital following the capital increase. It held no
VTB stock previously.
The Russian bank declined immediate comment.
The largest investors in the share sale are SOFAZ, Norges
Bank Investment Management and Qatar Holding, which together
signed up for more than half of the offering and are buying
roughly equal lots, sources familiar with the sale have said.
The Russian government's stake will be diluted to 60.9
percent from 75.5 percent. Existing shareholders have from May 6
to May 17 to exercise their subscription rights.