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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Gazprom Neft Plans Debut 10 Billion-Ruble Bond Sale

April 15, 2009 - (Bloomberg by Denis Maternovsky) - OAO Gazprom Neft, the oil unit of Russia’s gas export monopoly, is planning a debut issue of 10 billion rubles ($300 million) of bonds. The 10-year notes will have a coupon of between 16 and 17 percent and a put option giving bondholders the right to redeem the notes after 18 months to two years, according to a banker involved in the transaction, who declined to be identified before the deal is complete. Russian companies have struggled to raise funds since August as the global financial crisis and the country’s worst stock-market rout since the government’s 1998 default cut access to financing. Ruble bond sales fell 51 percent in the first quarter to 43.5 billion rubles from 88.9 billion rubles in the same period in 2008, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. “There is now a window of opportunity for the biggest Russian names to tap the local bond market because banks need to invest their surplus cash,” said Stas Ponomarenko, a fixed- income analyst at ING Groep NV in Moscow. “It will be very difficult for smaller companies to borrow as there is not that much appetite for risk.” Gazprom Neft will use the proceeds of the bond sale for “general corporate purposes,” Alla Sapun, a spokeswoman for the Moscow-based company, said today.
More Bonds: OAO Lukoil, Russia’s biggest private oil company, and Federal Grid Co., the state-run power grid monopoly, are among company’s that may follow Gazprom Neft in selling ruble debt this year, Ponomarenko said. The average price of ruble-denominated corporate bonds dropped to an all-time low of 78.34 in January, from more than 100 percent in June, according to the MICEXCBI Index of debt securities traded on the Micex Stock Exchange. The price is 84.72 today. Gazprom Neft initially considered issuing about 5 billion rubles of bonds, according to the banker. The bond sale, which is being managed by Renaissance Capital and OAO Gazprombank, may be priced on

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