LONDON Dec 17 Russian oil giant Rosneft
said on Tuesday that it has started the early
repayment of billions of dollars of loans obtained from a group
of international banks to finance its acquisition of TNK-BP in
Bankers expected Rosneft to use cash reserves to repay
around $5 billion of a $12.7 billion bridge loan when it matures
on December 21, bankers said.
Rosneft said that the early repayment of some of the loans
was possible due to the company's responsible financial policy
and significant generation of liquidity which allows the company
to meet its business plan goals.
"Early repayment of the loan once again proves the
efficiency of Rosneft's business model ... we should note our
efficient partnership with the international banking community
and our responsible attitude to the commitments we accepted,"
said Rosneft's president, Igor Sechin.
The maturing bridge loan is part of a $30.1 billion
financing package that backed the TNK-BP acquisition.
Rosneft originally planned to refinance a $12.7 billion
bridge loan and a subsequent $11.9 billion bridge loan with bond
issues, but decided to leave the bridge loans outstanding after
bond rates rose in May.
This left some banks overexposed to Rosneft. Some lenders
are now considering whether to take the repayment to cut
exposure or whether to roll the exposure into a new $5 billion
prepayment loan which is currently being raised by BP Plc
to finance its purchase of crude oil from Rosneft.
Rosneft is due to receive a $1.5 billion chunk of the $5
billion prepayment loan before Christmas from arranging banks
Deutsche Bank, HSBC, Bank of China and Lloyds. This will be
followed by a $3.5 billion tranche in the New Year.
"The question for many banks is still whether this is BP
exposure or Rosneft exposure. We as a bank have not yet
decided," said a second banker.
(Editing by Tessa Walsh)