Rosneft to settle Yukos' debt to Societe Generale before Apr.30

MOSCOW, February 13 (RIA Novosti) - Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft and Paris-based bank Societe Generale agreed in December last year on the guaranteed repayment of a loan granted to the embattled oil company Yukos, according to Rosneft's financial statements released on Monday.

The loan was secured on Yuganskneftegaz, the former core production unit of Yukos, which was returned to the state as payment for the oil firm's multi-billion back tax bills and later resold to Rosneft.

Rosneft's U.S. GAAP financial statement for the first nine months of 2005 said the agreement would come into force before April 30, 2006.

"The company will present to creditors before April 30, 2006 acceptable evidence of settling the 2004 tax liabilities of Yuganskneftegaz, which must also not exceed the required limit, and Societe Generale's claims for guarantees in relation to the $1 billion loan," Rosneft's financial statement said.

The outstandings on the $1 billion loan were $455.1 million as of September 30, 2005. The outstandings on the $1.6 billion loan total $655.7 million. The Rosneft document said the company intended to settle the debts by June 30, 2006.

"The company's management believes that these terms will be met," Rosneft's financial statement said.

The estimated loss resulting from the loan repayments under the above agreement was accounted for in the current financial statements.

As it was reported earlier, a syndicate of banks led by Societe Generale granted Yukos a $1 billion pre-export loan in 2003 secured on Yuganskneftegaz, eventually sold to Rosneft at an auction. Another $1.6 billion loan provided to Yukos with the support of Menatep Group was also secured on Yukos' core production unit.

The company's financial statement also said that in December 2005 Rosneft had signed an agreement with ABN Amro bank on guaranteeing a $7.5 billion loan disbursed by the bank to Rosneftegaz, Rosneft's sole shareholder, to allow the state to increase its stake in natural gas giant Gazprom to a controlling interest.

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