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"Swedbank" pulls out of Russia and Ukraine

STOCKHOLM, April 2 (LETA--REUTERS) - Swedish bank "Swedbank" said on Monday it will discontinue operations in Russia and sell its Ukrainian subsidiary, leaving it to focus on its home markets.

"This is the final step in our strategy to concentrate "Swedbank's" business activities (on) Sweden and the three Baltic countries," Chief Executive Michael Wolf said in a statement.

"Swedbank" plans to exit Ukraine before mid-year under a share purchase agreement signed with Mykola Lagun, the majority owner of local lender "Delta Bank". "Swedbank" announced plans to close its retail operations there in 2011.

As a result of the transaction, "Swedbank" will report impairments of approximately SEK 340 million (LVL 28.6 million) in its first quarter earnings.

Several banks from Western Europe have left or reduced their exposure to Ukraine. Both Swedish rival SEB and Germany's "Commerzbank" sold their Ukrainian subsidiaries last year.

"Swedbank" also said it would cease all new business in Russia and wind down existing operations. Its net lending there is approximately SEK 2.6 billion.
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