Vneshtorgbank (VTB), the second largest bank in Russia, has opted for City shop Citigate Dewe Rogerson.
The Kremlin-controlled bank is floating between 20 and 30 per cent of its shares in domestic markets and London. The hire of Citigate fires the starting pistol for the listing, which is expected in May.
Citigate, which declined to comment, fought off College Hill and Russia specialists Shared Value for the account. It is understood the hire was co-ordinated in Russia and at least nine agencies initially pitched.
The value of the listing is likely to top £2bn and Citigate will face the usual array of suspicion that surrounds state-owned Russian firms. VTB held a general meeting earlier this month to finalise the flotation plans.
Citigate will advise potential shareholders and the media on the success of VTB over the past five years and will attempt to deflect any negative association the bank has with failed Russian oil giant Yukos.
VTB made headlines this month when it was revealed stakes in it owned by Yukos are to be auctioned off next month.
A 7.69 per cent stake in VTB Bank Deutschland is to be sold with a starting price of £11.3m on 25 April, the fund said in an announcement in the official Rossiiskaya Gazeta daily.
But the agency will have a strong business background on which to build interest in the firm. VTB president Andrei Kostin, who took over the helm in 2002, is a onetime London embassy-based Russian diplomat who has turned the bank from its Soviet-era role - financing trade and heavy industry - into a budding universal bank.
Last year, VTB bought a five per cent stake in aerospace firm EADS for over £500m, highlighting its move into big business. The bank said earlier this month it is considering selling-off the shares depending on the market situation for the underperforming Airbus parent.
Russian IPOs have been a feature of the international stock markets over the past year, with steel producer SeverStal, oil and gas companies Rosneft and Novatek all completing successful listings. VTB declined to comment.