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Merrill Lynch Acquires Stake in Trust Banking Group


MOSCOW.— Merrill Lynch today announced that it has acquired approximately 10 percent of the TRUST Banking Group (TRUST Investment Bank and National Bank TRUST) ahead of the merger of these two banks under the National Bank TRUST (“TRUST”) name.

The purchase was a secondary market transaction between the majority shareholders of TRUST and Merrill Lynch, for an undisclosed amount.

For TRUST, this transaction marks another important milestone in implementing its strategy as the leading privately owned regionally focused bank operating over the entire territory of the Russian Federation. At the end of 2007, TRUST expects to be present in over 160 cities throughout Russia with plans for further expansion by the end of 2008. As a financial investor with strategic synergies, Merrill Lynch provides a level of expertise and market knowledge to help advise the management on the development of its commercial and capital markets business.

Ilya Yurov, chairman of the board of TRUST, said: “We have been working hard over the past few years developing our brand, network and product platforms. The merger of TRUST Investment Bank with National Bank TRUST was announced in July of this year with the view of creating a top 20 bank in Russia in terms of capital and assets. We expect to complete the merger by the second quarter of 2008. The entry of Merrill Lynch as an important minority shareholder is the next step in our long-term ambition to become the leading privately owned regional bank. We look forward to working with Merrill Lynch and delivering our combined expertise to our significant client base.”

Andrew Gazitua, COO of Global Origination and head of CEEMEA Origination Merrill Lynch, said: “For Merrill Lynch, this transaction is a further demonstration of our commitment to Russia as one of our core markets. In addition to providing financial returns, we view this investment as an opportunity to leverage off the local knowledge that Trust Bank has throughout Russia.”


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