Belarus eyes Nov deal to sell BPS Bank to Sberbank

MINSK, Oct 29 (Reuters) - Belarus is finishing talks on the sale of state-controlled BPS Bank to Russia's biggest lender, Sberbank (SBER03.MM), and a deal could be signed next month, the head of the Belarussian central bank said on Thursday. Belarus has to cede control of state banks to meet the conditions of the International Monetary Fund, which has agreed to lend $3.5 billion to the impoverished former Soviet country.

Sberbank said in March it was interesting in buying 100 percent in BPS, which has around $210 million in capital and has been valued at roughly $500 million by a Belarussian valuator.

Earlier this month, Belarus said it considered the price offered by the Russian state-controlled lender too low, without disclosing the sums involved. "The period of talks over the sale of BPS-Bank is coming to an end. Yesterday we held talks with Sberbank chief (German) Gref, the discussions finished successfully," Pyotr Prokopovich told a news conference.

"I hope that already in November (the deal) can be signed."

Prokopovich also said that another major Belarussian bank, Belinvestbank, is in talks with a Western lender after negotiations with Germany's Commerzbank (CBKG.DE) led nowhere.

"Because the crisis... touched German banks, Commerzbank is now not participating in this. Talks are going on with one of the Western European banks," he said, giving no further details. (Reporting by Andrei Makhovsky; Writing by Toni Vorobyova; editing by Simon Jessop)



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