Moscow, 15 January 2001; A landmark loan deal completed by Sibneft late last year has been named EEMEA Emerging Market Loan of the Year by International Financing Review (IFR), a leading London-based weekly covering international capital markets.
The $180 million thirteen-month facility represents the largest syndicated loan to be secured by a Russian company since the country's financial crisis in 1998. London-based Standard Bank, Dutch ABN Amro, BankAustria Creditanstalt, France's Natexis Banques Populaires, Societe Generale, Moscow Narodny Bank and KBC served as sub-underwriters. Standard Bank took on the role of arranger and bookrunner.
The IFR praised the deal's arrangers for successfully overcoming negative investor sentiment towards Russia, adding that the deal marked the first since the Russian crisis for most of the participating banks. "The $180 million pre-export finance facility through arranger Standard Bank represents a benchmark deal that is likely to become the blueprint for future structured Russian loans," the IFR noted.
Sibneft president Eugene Shvidler welcomed the award. "We are very encouraged by the fact that banks have been willing to resume lending larger sums to high-caliber Russian companies. Sibneft currently has a very strong balance sheet, and we plan to return to capital markets in the near future, as we accelerate spending under our aggressive upstream investment programme."
Sibneft was the first Russian company to receive a major loan from a Western bank in the wake of the 1998 financial crisis, securing a $76.5 million credit from Germany's WestLB in September 1998. Sibneft also repaid a $200 million zero-coupon note in the same month. The company has remained active in international lending markets and has signed a number of smaller trade finance facilities over the past two years. Sibneft in August 2000 redeemed a $150 million Eurobond, and currently has a low level of debt.