The international investment ratings agency Standard&Poor's has upgraded their investment rating for the country's fifth largest bank Alpha Bank from stabile to positive. Standard&Poor's Yekaterina Trofimova said that the 'upgrade was related to the bank's successes in developing its infrastructure and diversification as well as a good perspective for the continued development of the financial institution.'
In making their upgrade, Standard&Poor's considered the continued development of the Alpha Bank commercial network, the bank's financial services and growth in the professional development of the bank's employees in the key areas of retail, investment, information technology and risk management. Moreover, Standard&Poor's also considered the improving financial position of the bank's parent company Alpha Group. After its recent sale of British Petroleum shares, Alpha Group received a large amount of capital. 'One could say that thanks to that sale the parent company requires less credit from the bank while at the same time its position to help the bank is growing,' said Standard&Poor's. On December 31, 2003 it had assets totaling USD 5.8 billion. Nevertheless, its share of the aggregate assets of the banking system in a country dominated by large state banks is only approximately 5%.
Rescuers found the pilot of one of the two Su-34 fighters that had collided in midair in the Far East on January 18