SBERBANK, ING SIGN CREDIT LINE AGREEMENT

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AMSTERDAM, October 26. (RIA Novosti's Andrei Poskakukhin) - On Monday Sberbank of Russia and the ING financial group sign an agreement on a €350-million credit line in the international's head office in Amsterdam.

It was signed by Sberbank's board chairman Andrei Kazmin and ING board chairman Michel Tilmant.

The agreement is an important step in developing Russian foreign trade, the parties believe.

"The agreement envisages a possibility of financing projects of Russian companies interested in importing equipment, machines, technology and services to Russia using backing of national export agencies for over five years," reads Sberbank's press release made in Amsterdam.

"A long-term credit line for this sum is quite a new experience for us," Kazmin told RIA Novosti. "The loans will serve investment needs of Russian companies that import means of production, first of all, from the Netherlands and other EU member states, as well as from Switzerland and some other countries."

"The agreement with banks of the ING group will expand the range of Sberbank's banking products in financing long-term investment programs for its clients under conditions favorable for Russian companies," the press release reads.

Also, Sberbank's corporate clients and its territorial banks will receive an additional tool to finance their investment projects, it points out.

"Among our clients are over 1.3 million companies, some of which develop investment programs quite actively," Kazmin said in this context. "We are positive that the credit line will help Russian companies to get access to international financial markets at a quite acceptable price."

Sberbank is doing a lot to increase level of cooperation between Russian and Dutch companies, he pointed out. Last year Sberbank financed exports from Russia to the Netherlands worth about $400 million, an increase of 48 percent against the previous year. 70 percent of the turnover is financed by Sberbankin cooperation with the ING, which is its main partner in the Netherlands.

Tilmant, in his turn, said that the agreement would expand trade between Russia and Western Europe.

"It is an honor for the ING to work with Russia's largest bank," he said.

Pointing out that ten years ago the ING was one of the first foreign banks to receive a license for banking operations in Russia, Tilmant said, "I hope that the agreement will not only continue the ING's work on the Russian market, but will also give rise to a new stage, because I hope for a further and significant expansion of our business contacts with Sberbank."

The ING international financial group provides services for 60 million clients in more than 50 countries. Its banks and insurance companies all over the world employ 115,000 people. The group offers banking and insurance services and capital management. Its clients include individuals, companies, state and other institutions.

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