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Gazprombank to open branch in Johannesburg

Russia’s third largest bank, Gazprombank, is in the process of interviewing and appointing a South African chief executive to run the business when it opens in July. Gazprombank’s deputy chairman, Oleg Vaksman, was in South Africa for a series of meetings. The bank – which will be based in Sandton, Johannesburg – is also on the verge of signing partnership agreements with local banks and government institutions. Although it will not provide consumer-based lending, it will perform investment banking, which in all probability will be primarily with Russian companies looking to expand into Africa. The bank would look to fund projects worth between $10-million and $250-million, adding that a number of Russian companies had already spoken to him about entering South Africa and the region, including mining and construction firms. Although South Africa and Russia have strong political and historical ties and are both members of the Brics club, the relationship has not translated into concrete business flows.

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