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Hansabank opens leasing operations in Russia

  • 2002-12-12
  • Aleksei Gunter
TALLINN

Hansa Capital, member of Hansabank Group, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and development recently signed an agreement on launching leasing and factoring operations in Russia.

According to Hansabank Group officials, Hansa Leasing Russia (HLR), which is owned by Hansa Capital (75 percent) and EBRD (25 percent), will focus on major business clients, ports and railway companies that are connected to the Baltic corridor.

In addition, HLR is looking to increase its market share in the Baltics, as well as targeting Russian companies in need of additional cash flows.

Hansabank Group approved the HLR project in August and invested 8 million euros into the stock capital of the new company.

Aarne Saarevali, who previously worked as factoring operations director of Hansa Leasing Estonia, is coordinating the project, which will be based in Moscow.

Hansa Capital, a branch of Hansabank Group offering asset-based finance services, controls about 50 percent of the Baltics' leasing and factoring market. Bank official said they were going to stick to their selected niche in Russia, i.e. industrial equipment leasing and other services for transit businesses.

According to Mart Tooming, CEO of Hansa Capital, the company carefully examined the situation on the Russian leasing market and sees the transit-related companies as the best way of expanding to the East.

"The Russian leasing market is three to four years behind the Estonian market, and the interest rates are much higher in Russia. However, the new leasing regulations approved this year in Russia are somewhat even more innovative than those of the Baltic states," said Tooming.

In EBRD's opinion, HLR will support the development of leasing in Russia by setting up a company capable to finance "big-ticket" leases. In practical terms, it would help to renew the wagon stocks in the Russian railway and finance for port equipment that would increase the opportunities for Russian exports.