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Monday, March 30, 2009

Gazprom Considers $500M Eurobond

30 March 2009 - Reuters - Gazprom may become the first Russian company to return to the eurobond market, as it is considering an issue of at least $500 million, banking sources said Friday. Gazprom's placement could unlock the eurobond market for some other Russian borrowers with stable ratings after a drought of refinancing options over the past nine months amid the global credit crunch. Russia is looking into the possibility of external borrowing, and the government could be asking Gazprom to test the waters, analysts said. "We believe that, instead, [the Finance Ministry] will ask one of the big state-controlled corporates to issue bonds to test the market," UBS said in a report Friday. Gazprom, Russia's most indebted company with consolidated outstanding debt of $60 billion, last tapped the market in July 2008 with a $500 million, five-year bond priced at 7.51 percent yield. A banking source said Gazprom was waiting to see the slowly reviving appetite for Russian risks bringing yields down from current levels. "They do not want to pay more then 10 percent," the banker said. "Gazprom is running a non-deal roadshow right now. From what I have heard, it is going to be a dollar-denominated issue," said another banker, adding that Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse were likely to be picked as bookrunners. Russian corporates face foreign debt repayments of more than $130 billion this year, and many of them have started painful restructuring talks with foreign lenders after the Kremlin abruptly shut down its $50 billion refinancing program.

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