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06.03.2008
WWW.COMMERSANT.COM

Russian Cos. Refinance for $111 Bill.

There is no danger of default, however, Two-thirds of the debt belongs to top-rated borrowers that have no problems attracting funds. Smaller companies can sell stock. Of that debt, about $73.3 billion belongs to companies, and $38 billion to banks. It represents a quarter of Russia's foreign debt. Russian companies will pay about $10 billion this month, Citi estimates.

Companies are finding a variety of ways of attracting funds. Sibur issued securities worth 120 billion rubles and Russian Railways issued $1 billion worth in the last two weeks. VimpelCom announced that it plans to place $1.5 billion in euro bonds in the second quarter, and Raiffeisenbank has registered three ruble securities issues worth 20 billion rubles. The cost of credit for blue-chip companies has risen 1-1.5 percent since the world financial crisis began, and risen up to 2 percent for companies of the second echelon, which is not critical for them. Rosneft, which, according to Citi, has to pay $5.7 billion on a syndicated loan this month, has taken out another syndicated credit of $3 billion. A Evraz Group payment of $1.8 billion due this month has been refinanced with the $3.2 billion it took out last November.

The cost of funds for refinancing for smaller companies is harder to determine. Barclays notes that they use credits and stock sales for that purpose and prefer private deals. About 30 percent of the securities market is occupied by third-echelon companies. There are also bought out by their major investors in case of financial hardship. When that happens, experts say, they sell for fair prices, since larger companies have saved up funds during the economic crisis.