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Energy

RLPC-Russia's Gazprom lines up $4.2 bln loan-source

LONDON, Sept 30 (Reuters) - Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom GAZP.MM has lined up a loan worth up to $4.2 billion to back its purchase of a 20 percent stake in oil firm Gazprom Neft SIBN.MM, but the financing is on hold as a result of market conditions, a banking source close to the deal said.

Gazprom, which controls 75 percent of Gazprom Neft, wants to buy the 20 percent stake from Italian energy firm Eni ENI.MI.

The banker said Gazprom has verbally mandated four banks -- Credit Suisse, Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley and Societe Generale -- to arrange the loan but that the borrower now wants to wait to see if the market conditions improve before progressing further.

The source added that the loan was to include a syndicated $3 billion loan, with the balance held as a bridge facility.

Eni bought the stake at a Russian state-forced auction of assets of bankrupt oil firm YUKOS in April 2007, but Gazprom has the right to buy the stake from Eni for two years.

Gazprom’s previous syndicated loan was a $2 billion dual-tranche facility signed in April 2007.

The transaction included a $1 billion, 3-year tranche that paid a margin of 40 basis points (bps) over LIBOR and a $1 billion, 5-year tranche that paid 50 bps.

Reporting by Christopher Mangham

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