Russian pipemaker TMK to cut investment due to sanctions on banks

MOSCOW, July 31 Thu Jul 31, 2014 8:10am EDT

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MOSCOW, July 31 (Reuters) - The main owner of TMK, Russia's largest maker of steel pipes, said on Thursday the company would cut investment and focus on easing its debt burden due to West-imposed sanctions on Russian banks over the crisis in Ukraine.

Almost all the largest Russian banks have been slapped with sanctions that bar them from raising money in Western capital markets, in by far the strongest international steps yet against Moscow over its support for Ukraine's rebels.

"From the point of view of the banks of course we assume there will be deterioration given that their abilities to find funding will worsen, so we will make efforts to reduce our credit load," billionaire Dmitry Pumpyansky told journalists.

The majority of TMK's debt is held by sanctions-hit banks VTB and Gazprombank.

The company's main investment projects are likely to be finished in the next couple of years, Pumpyansky said. "Therefore we will invest less and use the extra money to repay loans."

TMK, the majority of whose business is focused on the domestic oil and gas industry, has not felt any direct impact from sanctions, he said. (Reporting by Aleksei Anishchuk; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Dale Hudson)

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