MOSCOW, March 14 Alfa Bank, Russia's largest
private bank, has demanded Russian coal miner and steelmaker
Mechel pay back a $150 million loan ahead of
schedule, putting additional pressure on the company, the
Vedomosti newspaper said on Friday.
Citing sources close to both sides, Vedomosti said Russian
Finance Minister Anton Siluanov held a special meeting to
discuss Mechel's situation on Thursday. At that meeting Alfa
Bank demanded the repayment and a one week extension was agreed.
It gave no further details. Alfa bank could not immediately
be reached for comment. Mechel declined to comment on the
article, but a spokesman said the company was fulfilling its
obligations on time.
Like other Russian steelmakers, Mechel, which is controlled
by billionaire Igor Zyuzin, invested heavily in expansion before
the 2008 financial crisis hit demand, forcing it to borrow to
The company's net debt stood at $9.4 billion as of late
2013. It plans to raise around $1 billion from the sale of
assets this year which would help it to offset the $2 billion
debt it has to repay next year, the company said in December.
If the company fails to repay the loan to Alfa Bank, it may
default on other obligations as well, the paper said, adding
that the government is looking at the option of providing Mechel
with a $2 billion loan from state development bank VEB.
(Reporting by Katya Golubkova and Polina Devitt, editing by