This is one of the last channels for financing trade flows between Switzerland and the Russian Federation, which has not yet been hit by sanctions.
Gazprombank is looking for an investor
“The bank expects to complete the process of exploring possible options, including the search for an investor, by the end of the third quarter of 2022. Parties interested in participating should contact our representative,” the website of the Swiss subsidiary says.
The release notes that this message "does not constitute an offer, guarantee, agreement or promise of any transaction" and should not be construed as such.
In total, about 80 people are employed in the Swiss subsidiary. The division itself handles export and trade finance. In particular, the organization helps Swiss industrial groups finance exports to Eastern Europe. Also, this structure sponsors the extraction, transportation and processing of raw materials coming from the Russian Federation to European countries for commodity traders.
According to Reuters, taking into account the equity capital of about 200 million Swiss francs, Gazprombank's subsidiary can be valued at about 150 million Swiss francs (about $154 million).
Gazprombank is one of the last remaining channels for financing trade flows between Russia and Switzerland, the agency writes. The remaining Russian credit institutions were included in the sanctions lists of Western countries after the start of a special operation in Ukraine.
It is through Gazprombank that international payments for Russian gas pass. This bank also remains the only state credit institution and one of the few large banks in principle, which can carry out currency transfers within the Russian Federation and abroad.
Gazprombank under sanctions
In 2014, sectoral sanctions of the European Union and the United States began to operate against the bank. They set a ban on the provision of long-term financing, but these restrictions do not apply to Gazprombank's subsidiaries.
In early March 2022, the Swiss Bankers Association (SBA) excluded Gazprombank and Sberbank from the country's banking system.
Disconnecting from SWIFT
In June, Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Pavel Yablonsky said that the European Union had begun preparing the seventh package of anti-Russian sanctions. Among other measures, the Europeans are discussing the disconnection of Gazprombank from the SWIFT international payment system.
“Sanctions should be even tougher in the context of the gas that Russia can still sell, in the context of disconnecting all Russian banks from the SWIFT system. I am talking here primarily about Gazprombank, ”said Yablonsky. He added that the restrictions should also affect the export of technology to Russia.
Previously, sanctions have already affected the National Settlement Depository (NSD, acts as a paying agent for Eurobonds). As a result, about €4.5-7 billion of funds from Russian banks, enterprises and investors got stuck in NSD's accounts. In addition, due to sanctions, large Russian financial organizations have been disconnected from SWIFT: VTB, Otkritie and Rossiya banks, Promsvyazbank, Sovcombank, Novikombank and VEB.RF. Later, three more banks were added to this list: Sberbank, Moscow Credit Bank and Rosselkhozbank.