Russia's Southern Telecom plans 3 bln rouble loan

MOSCOW, April 13 (Reuters) - Russian regional fixed-line telecom operator Southern Telecom UTEL.MMKUBN.RTS said on Monday it planned to attract a 3 billion rouble ($89.69 million) loan at a starting maximum rate of 18 percent.

The company said on its Web site it would pick up a lender through a tender which is set to close by May 5. It will use the loan to refinance debts and finance current operations.

In March, rating agency Standard & Poor’s said it could lower the company’s rating if it is unable to refinance some or all of its 11 billion rouble debt maturing in the second half of 2009. [ID:nWLA8618]

Southern Telecom, known by its Russian acronym UTK, is the leading fixed-line operator in the south of Russia. It is controlled by national telecoms holding company Svyazinvest. ($1=33.45 Rouble) (Reporting by Maria Kiselyova; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)