* Loan to allow Srbijagas to maintain liquidity, repay debts
* Srbijagas to seek another 170 million euro this year
By Aleksandar Vasovic
BELGRADE, Nov 8 The Serbian parliament approved
on Thursday sovereign guarantees worth 190 million euro ($242.34
million) for loans the country's state-run gas monopoly needs to
repay overdue debts.
Under the borrowing plan, the Srbijagas will seek five-year
loans from seven banks, which will be indexed to the euro but
paid out in the local dinar currency.
Deutsche Bank, Amsterdam Trade Bank and Volksbank
would secure a total of 140 million euros. Serbian subsidiaries
of the OTP Bank, Societe Generale and UniCredit will
provide 10 million euros each, while the Vojvodjanska Banka, a
part of the National Bank of Greece will secure
another 20 million euros.
The guarantees were pencilled in the 2012 budget, which sees
the deficit at 6.2 percent of gross domestic product by the end
of the year, the parliament said in a statement. Srbijagas will
use the loans to maintain its liquidity and repay some of its
"The loans will be paid out in quarterly instalments and
with an annual interest rate of three-month EURIBOR plus bank
margins of between 5.98 to 7.25 percent," it said.
Earlier this week, the Srbijagas chief executive Dusan
Bajatovic said the company also planned to seek another 170
million euros this year, also to maintain liquidity.
Last year Srbijagas owed more than 60 billion dinars
($678.98 million) to banks but claimed 150 million euros from
heating plants and 400 million euros from industrial consumers
for gas delivered at prices below those it had paid to Russia,
Serbia's main supplier.
Parliament's approval boosted the dinar versus
the euro on the interbank currency market. At mid-day on
Thursday, the dinar traded at between 112.3 and 113.97 compared
to between 112.98 and 113.55 a day earlier.
Stable and cheap energy supplies are a key part of the
Socialist-nationalist government's efforts to keep a lid on
social discontent caused by sinking living standards.
The economy is expected to decline about 2 percent this year
amid rising poverty and unemployment, which now stands at about
Serbia, which hopes to see a recovery next year on the back
of stronger investments, plans to start building in December an
arm of Russia's South Stream gas pipeline, worth about 1.5
The project is part of a wider energy deal between Serbia,
Russia and the Russian oil and gas giant, Gazprom.
South Stream should deliver Russian gas to Europe, bypassing
Serbia has also asked to borrow about $1.8 billion from the
Export-Import Bank of China to build highways and overhaul a key
coal-fired power plant.
($1 = 0.7840 euros)
(Reporting by Aleksandar Vasovic; Editing by Zoran
Radosavljevic and Jon Hemming)