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Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Gazprom May Borrow $10.5 Billion From Russian Banks

moneyJune 8, 2009 - (Bloomberg by Denis Maternovsky) - OAO Gazprom, Russia’s gas export monopoly, will seek approval from its shareholders to raise up to $10.5 billion in dollar, euro and ruble loans from state banks, it said in a statement on its Web site. Gazprom will ask a general shareholders’ meeting on June 26 to approve loans of as much as $6 billion from Vnesheconombank, Russia’s state development bank, $1.5 billion each from OAO Sberbank and Russian Agricultural Bank, $1 billion from VTB Group and $500 million from OAO Gazprombank, the company said. “Gazprom is simply either trying to insure itself against the possibility of the situation in the capital markets again taking a turn for the worse, or is looking for attractive alternative sources of refinancing,” said Sebastien de Prinsac, head of international sales at Trust Investment Bank in Moscow. Gazprom, which sold 500 million Swiss francs ($456 million) and $2.25 billion of bonds in April in Russia’s first foreign note offering in nine months, has $6.7 billion of debt maturing this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Russian companies are struggling to refinance $146.7 billion of foreign debt in 2009 after the financial crisis cut access to new cash. The Moscow-based oil producer’s new loans may have maturities of as much as five years, according to the statement. The interest on the facilities shouldn’t exceed an annual 15 percent for the dollar or euro loans and 3 percentage points more than the central bank’s refinancing rate for the ruble debt, the company said. Gazprom has $52 billion of bonds and loans outstanding, Bloomberg data show. The company is rated Baa1 by Moody’s Investors Service, its third-lowest investment grade, and one level lower at BBB by Standard & Poor’s.

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