German Gref re-elected CEO of Russia’s Sberbank

By bne IntelliNews November 9, 2023

Ex-EconMin German Gref has been reelected as the CEO and chairman of the management board of Russia’s largest state-controlled lender Sberbank (Sber) for a four-year term.

Gref has been considered a part of the "liberal" Russian economic policymaking camp and urged full privatisation of Sberbank in the past. Later he set out to turn the bank into an all-encompassing digital ecosystem, which was set back by the full-scale military invasion of Ukraine.

Upon re-election Gref said that no major changes are expected in Sber’s dividend policy, without elaborating in detail on the short- to medium-term strategy of the bank.

To remind, Sber, under full blocking sanctions, did not pay the RUB623bn dividend for 2021 amid the fallout from Russia’s full-scale military invasion of Ukraine.

But the bank surprised with the record-breaking total dividend payout of RUB565bn ($7.3bn) in 2022, making more than double the RUB271bn net profit the bank earned last year. The largest recipient of the dividend, at RUB282.5bn, will be the state (50% plus one share in Sberbank).

The analysts surveyed by RBC business portal previously believed that Sber is helping the government out with the unprecedented fiscal squeeze amid the full-scale military invasion of Ukraine. The bank's dividends were expected to be a signal to other large state-owned enterprises (SOEs such as Gazprom Neft, Gazprom, Transneft, Rosneft and others).

Sber posted RUB1.13 trillion ($11.3bn) net Russian Accounting Standard (RAS) profit in 9M23, with RUB130bn bottom line in September alone. Previously the Finance Ministry forecasted Sber's profit at RUB1.5 trillion in 2023, aiming to collect RUB375bn from RUB750bn in total dividends from the bank. 

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