Russian government, state banks in talks to restructure Mechel's debt- economy minister

STAVROPOL, Russia, June 19 Thu Jun 19, 2014 2:00am EDT

STAVROPOL, Russia, June 19 (Reuters) - The Russian government is in talks with state banks on providing 180 billion roubles ($5.21 billion) as part of a restructuring package for indebted coal producer and steelmaker Mechel, Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev said on Thursday.

The government is considering a restructuring scheme for Mechel that would involve issuing bonds convertible into shares, which could be purchased by state development bank Vnesheconombank, or VEB, Ulyukayev told journalists.

"The main thing being discussed is a bridge loan and then, the transfer of rights to demand collateral to VEB. It is possible that these rights will come through concrete convertible bonds," Ulyukayev said.

This move would allow Mechel to pay off its debt to three state banks, Sberbank, VTB and Gazprombank, said Ulyukayev, a member of Vnesheconombank's board of directors.

Mechel's debt stood at $8.6 billion at the end of April.

($1 = 34.5218 Russian Roubles) (Reporting by Polina Devitt; Writing by Polina Devitt and Lidia Kelly, editing by Elizabeth Piper)