RLPC-Lukoil signed $1 bln bridge loan ahead of sanctions
LONDON Aug 14 (Reuters) - Russia's largest independent oil producer Lukoil, signed a $1 billion bridge loan to a potential US dollar bond with US banks Citigroup and JP Morgan at the beginning of July, a source close to the deal said.
Lukoil hired Citi and JP Morgan to lead a US dollar bond in March, which was delayed amid the political fallout from Russia's annexation of the Crimea.
The bridge loan was signed in early July, just before further Western sanctions were announced on July 16.
JP Morgan declined to comment, Citi and Lukoil were not immediately available to comment.
Although Lukoil was not included in the most recent sanctions, the measures have affected all Russian companies' ability to refinance existing loans and even non-sanctioned companies are unable to raise new loans.
Lukoil has said that the bond could still happen in the autumn but no Russian bank or company has priced an international bond since private bank Promsvyazbank printed a US$300m seven-year Tier 2 note on July 15.
The last time Lukoil was in the market for a large loan was August 2010, when the company raised a $1.5 billion unsecured one year loan.
That deal was arranged by Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Citi, ING Bank, Natixis, Royal Bank of Scotland and WestLB, and paid an all-in interest margin of 180-200 basis points over Libor.
Lukoil is rated BBB- by S&P, Baa2 by Moody's and BBB by Fitch. (Editing By Tessa Walsh)