Russia's VTB CEO says ready to provide loan to CEFC for Rosneft stake

FILE PHOTO: VTB Bank Chief Executive Andrei Kostin attends a session during the Week of Russian Business, organized by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP), in Moscow, Russia March 16, 2017. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin/File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) - VTB, Russia’s No.2 bank, is ready to provide a loan to China’s CEFC so it can buy a stake in Rosneft, the country’s top oil producer, VTB Chief Executive Andrey Kostin told Reuters in an interview.

“We are ready to provide a loan, all the documents have been signed and decisions were made. Therefore, there are no issues from our side,” Kostin said. He declined to comment on why the deal was not yet closed.

CEFC plans to buy a 14.16 percent stake in Rosneft from a consortium of Glencore and the Qatar Investment Authority, strengthening energy ties between Moscow and Beijing. VTB was ready to provide a 5 billion euro loan under the deal.

VTB was also ready to provide a loan to Sistema to help it settle a legal battle between Rosneft and Sistema over mid-sized oil producer Bashneft.

Rosneft bought Bashneft from Sistema, and later alleged Sistema had mismanaged the asset. Sistema denies the allegations. The two sides agreed an out of course settlement last month.

Kostin said that VTB has a lending limit of 58 billion rubles on the Sistema group of companies, with almost all funds having been already provided. The bank was ready to issue another loan to help settle the legal claim.

“We almost reached agreement on the terms of the lending, but at the last minute the client refused and said that the conditions of the amicable settlement allowed them to do without our loan,” Kostin said.

Sistema is raising a total of 80 billion rubles from Sberbank and the Russian Direct Investment Fund, secured against a number of Sistema’s assets, to settle the Rosneft claim.

Reporting by Katya Golubkova and Dmitry Antonov; Editing by Christian Lowe