Russian lender Sberbank bets on e-commerce as it seeks to expand beyond banking

A worker paints the facade of a branch of Sberbank in central Moscow, Russia, August 17, 2016. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

Russia’s largest lender Sberbank expects its non-financial businesses to generate 60% of company revenues by 2030, with e-commerce at the heart of a new three-year strategy, unveiled by Chief Executive German Gref on Monday.

In a shift away from its core banking business, Sberbank wants to become one of Russia’s top three e-commerce players by 2023 and is taking a majority stake in online platform SberMarket, a joint venture with internet group Mail.Ru, the company said.

Sberbank has invested some $2 billion on acquisitions and IT as it attempts to join Apple and Google on the big tech stage. It also has the Rambler media group and Okko online cinema among the other assets.

Over the next three years, revenue from Sberbank’s non-banking businesses should reach at least 5% of group revenues, said Lev Khasis, first deputy chairman of the Sberbank’s executive board, during the bank’s online investor day.

“We will make substantial investments of around 4% of our capital to implement this strategy,” he said. “And we will direct most of that on developing the e-commerce business.”

Khasis said Sberbank’s total investment in SberMarket now stands at 12 billion roubles ($156 million). He said Sberbank’s growth in the sector would likely be organic and that partnerships were possible, but ruled out large mergers and acquisitions.

Russia’s e-commerce market has boomed this year as coronavirus lockdowns forced consumers to switch to online shopping.

Despite the change in focus, the banking business will still account for approximately 70% of net operating income by 2023, based on forecasts presented by Gref.

The bank’s return-on-equity, one of the key measures of profitability, is forecast at over 17% in 2020-2023.

Retail lending is set to grow by 10-12% a year and Sberbank’s corporate portfolio is expected to expand by another 5-7% annually in 2020-2023, the presentation said.

Sberbank said it was also planning to channel 50% of net profit to dividends in the next three years.

($1 = 76.1660 roubles)

Reuters

 

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In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

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  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.