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Friday, March 27, 2009

Gazprom mulls $500 mln Eurobond - source

MOSCOW, March 27, 2009 (Reuters by Dmitry Sergeyev and Carolyn Cohn) - Gas export monopoly Gazprom (GAZP.MM) may become the first Russian company to return to the Eurobond market as it is considering an issue of at least $500 million, a banking source told Reuters on 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. Gazprom, Russia's most indebted company with consolidated outstanding debt of $60 billion, last time tapped the market in June 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. Russian corporates face foreign debt repayments of over $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 programme. "Gazprom is coming, people are waiting to see if this borrower can come to the market, we would be interested in buying some of it," said a London-based fund manager.

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