Austrian bank drops plans to buy Russian-owned stake in Strabag amid US pressure

Austrian-based Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) has dropped a plan to buy a €1.5 billion (US$1.6 billion) stake in Austrian construction group Strabag from Russian shareholders, reportedly amid pressure from the US.

Strabag’s head office in Vienna. (Photo: Strabag.)

The bank had wanted to buy shares from MKAO Rasperia Trading, which had been controlled by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska.

Deripaska was hit with sanctions by the US and European Union following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Strabag froze the shares after Deripaska was sanctioned and last year cut Rasperia’s stake in Strabag to below 25% to reduce the risk on the company’s business activities.

Raiffeisen Bank International, which is the largest western bank in Russia, announced in December 2023 that it planned to buy the shares.

Then, in March this year, Strabag announced that MKAO Rasperia had transferred its 24.1% holding in the construction group to Iliadis JSC but said it had no further information on the transaction and was not able to assess whether it would have any impact on RBI’s intended deal.

Yesterday (8 May), RBI announced that it had decided not to pursue the acquisition of Strabag shares from MKAO Rasperia. According to the announcement, it was unable to obtain the “required comfort” from authorities to proceed.

RBI had hoped that completing the deal would have allowed it to unlock bank funds frozen in Russia. But according to Reuters, it had faced weeks of pressure from the US to drop the deal.

Strabag makes more acquisitions

Meanwhile, Strabag yesterday (8 May) announced that it was making two more acquisitions.

Together with Porr AG, it bought parts of an Austrian hospital and spa company’s business, relating to building management and construction projects, for €90 million.

Strabag and Porr’s joint holding company signed a deal with Vamed Group to purchase Vamed-KMB Krankenhausmanagement und Betriebsführungsges.m.b.H (VKMB) and Vamed Standortentwicklung und Engineering GmbH (VSG), comprising the technical operations management and construction projects divisions of Vienna General Hospital (AKH Wien), the Austrian project development business and Vamed’s spa holdings in Austria.

In a separate announcement, Strabag said its property and facility services arm bought Luxembourg-based Elco Group, a company that provides technology in the field of technical building facilities in both the public and private sectors.

The 450-strong company, which has an annual turnover of around €59 million covers the planning and installation of heating, cooling, air conditioning, ventilation, sanitary systems, and fire alarm technology. It also offers a range of medium-voltage and renewable energy services such as the installation of photovoltaic systems and charging stations.

Strabag buys up sustainable building materials manufacturer Austrian contractor Strabag has acquired sustainable building materials manufacturer Naporo Klima Dämmstoff for an undisclosed sum.
Sanctioned Russian oligarch finally sells stake in Strabag Sanctioned Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska has now sold his stake in Austrian construction group Strabag, the company has confirmed.

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