February 10, 2009 / 1:23 PM / 11 years ago

Russia Vimpelcom to refinance debt via rouble bonds

MOSCOW, Feb 10 (Reuters) - Russia’s No. 2 mobile operator Vimpelcom VIP.N is planning to issue more than $800 million worth of five year domestic rouble bonds to refinance foreign debt, the operator said on Tuesday.

Vimpelcom faces about $1.8 billion in foreign debt payments in 2009 and has said it could meet them without extra borrowings, but would like to change the ratio of foreign currency to roubles in its debt portfolio [ID:nLS76520]. The company is the most indebted of Russia’s top three mobile operators since it borrowed to fund the purchase of fixed-line operator Golden Telecom.

Its largest competitor, Mobile TeleSystems (MBT.N), has already unveiled a new rouble bond in the months since foreign lending to Russian companies dried up [ID:nLN383429].

The Kremlin on Tuesday denied a Japanese news report that it was seeking to restructure as much as $400 billion in Russian companies’ debt, putting the euro under pressure in a sign of international concern at Russian debt levels. [ID:nT350610] (Writing by Melissa Akin, editing by Will Waterman)

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