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ABN Amro gets Russian award, says to expand operations

THE HAGUE, June 13 (RIA Novosti) - International bank ABN Amro, which won a prestigious Russian business award on the weekend, is looking to expand its operations in Russia, a bank executive said Tuesday.

ABN Amro Russia representative Henk Paardekooper said the bank had clinched deals worth about $34 billion in syndicated loans and bonds on the Russian market in 2005, and that its strategy for Russia reflected big opportunities for new products on the country's growing market.

The RUS Prix that ABN Amro won Saturday is awarded annually to Dutch companies and individuals for their contribution to the development of business and humanitarian ties with Russia.

Paardekooper said last year's major deals included a $13.1-bln syndicated loan for Russian energy giant Gazprom to buy oil company Sibneft, and a $7.5-bln syndicated loan to cover the acquisition of a 10.74% stake in Gazprom by the government.

He said ABN Amro's interests in Russia also covered non-energy sectors, including steel, the car industry, petrochemicals, retail, and communications.

ABN Amro has been operating in Russia since 1978, he said. The bank has offices in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk in the Far East, and has 250 employees in the country.

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