August 29, 2018 / 1:07 PM / in 3 months

Russian Railways cedes control of pension fund to Gazprombank

MOSCOW, Aug 29 (Reuters) - Russian Railways, the state-controlled railways operator, has invited state-run Gazprombank to become the main shareholder in Blagosostoyanie, the country’s second-largest corporate pension fund, Blagosostoyanie said on Wednesday.

Blagosostoyanie said it had agreed that Gazprombank and the managing company of another state-run lender, Russian Agriculture Bank, both become shareholders in the fund, for which they will pay a total 15 billion roubles ($221 million).

According to Russian law, the pension fund must be turned into a joint stock company, not necessarily public, by next year.

Six sources familiar with the plans had told Reuters last month that Russian Railways was considering ceding control of Blagosostoyanie as part of a drive to divest non-core assets.

Gazprombank, controlled by gas major Gazprom, will get 50 percent minus one share in Blagosostoyanie, while the managing company of Russian Agriculture Bank will have a 19.5 percent stake, Blagosostoyanie said.

Russian Railways will keep 25 percent plus one share in the pension fund while minority investors will have a 5.5 percent stake, the fund said.

Blagosostoyanie manages pensions worth around 380 billion roubles ($5.6 billion) which cover 1.3 million people and is focused on workers of the Russian Railways, the country’s biggest employer.

$1 = 68.0259 roubles Reporting by Tatiana Voronova Writing by Andrey Ostroukh Editing by David Holmes

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