By Ed Frankl
Societe Generale SA said Monday that it will cease its banking and insurance activities in Russia, including selling Rosbank, as it exits the country after its invasion of Ukraine.
The French bank said it would divest its entire stake in Rosbank, one of Russia’s largest foreign-owned lenders, and its Russian insurance subsidiary to Interros Group, a previous shareholder of Rosbank.
SocGen said the disposal would lead to a roughly two billion euro ($2.18 billion) write-off of the net book value of the divested activities, and an exceptional noncash item of about EUR1.1 billion.
The impact of the disposal of Rosbank and the insurance activities on the bank’s CET1 capital-buffer ratio is expected to be around 20 basis points, though the Paris-based bank said it would remain comfortably above its own guidance. The CET1 ratio was 13.7% at the end of last year.
Previously, SocGen said its exposure to Russia was 1.7% of the group’s total exposure, or EUR18.6 billion, at the end of December, with EUR15.4 billion of that accounted at Rosbank.
Activities in Russia generated 2.8% of net banking income and 2.7% of net earnings in 2021, it added.
French peers BNP Paribas SA and Credit Agricole SA, which have considerably smaller exposures to Russia, have said in recent weeks they will stop doing new business in the country.
Other European banks including Deutsche Bank AG and Intesa Sanpaolo SpA also said they would step back from investments in Russia.
SocGen said the transaction was agreed on after several weeks of intensive work, and would mean it could exit Russia “in an effective and orderly manner,” ensuring continuity for its employees and clients.
The deal is expected to close in the coming weeks, subject to the approval of regulatory and antitrust authorities.
The company confirmed it would keep its EUR1.65 dividend and EUR915 billion share-buyback program for 2021, subject to approval at the company’s annual general meeting in May.
Write to Ed Frankl at email@example.com