Russia’s Sberbank collapses 95% on London exchange as it exits Europe

The logo of the Russian state-owned bank Sberbank is pictured next to a red traffic light, at its European subsidiary headquarters in Vienna on February 28, 2022.

Roland Schlager | AFP | Getty Images

LONDON — Shares of Russia’s Sberbank plunged 95% on the London Stock Exchange on Wednesday to trade as low as a penny after the bank announced that it was pulling out of the European market.

Russia’s largest lender said its European subsidiaries had experienced “abnormal cash outflows” and expressed concern for the safety of its employees and properties.

The European Central Bank ordered the closure of Sberbank’s European arm, Austria’s Financial Market Authority said Wednesday, suggesting it was “failing or likely to fail” after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine triggered a run on deposits.

The U.S., European Union and the U.K. have ratcheted up sanctions against Russia’s institutions in recent days, barring key banks from the SWIFT international payment system and restricting the Central Bank of Russia’s capacity to use its more than $600 billion in foreign currency reserves.

Sberbank’s stock price provisionally closed more than 78% lower in London. The bank has lost 99.9% of its value since the start of the year.

What is the SWIFT system, and what does it mean for Russia?

Other major London-listed Russian stocks saw similar declines on Wednesday, including Lukoil, Novatek and Rosneft.

Domestically, Moscow’s stock market has been closed for three consecutive days as authorities attempt to stem the bleeding in local assets.

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