Bank of St. Petersburg launches $37-mln debut bond issue

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MOSCOW, June 13 (RIA Novosti) - The Bank of St. Petersburg has placed a debut bond issue worth $1 billion rubles (about $37 million), the press office of the bank's underwriter said Tuesday.

The 2006-2008 borrowing program approved by the Bank of St. Petersburg, which is among the top three banks in Russia's northwest, allows the bank to raise $600 million in loans on the Russian and international capital markets.

"The bond issue is worth 1 billion rubles; it has a 3-year maturity and offers a buy-back option in twelve months' time. The bonds carry 3-month coupons," the press office of Promstroibank commercial bank said.

Russian banks are thought to be heavily undercapitalized and in need of funds to compete with rivals in the West.

The Bank of St. Petersburg, which is one of the country's top fifty banks, intends to float $100-mln Eurobonds in late 2006 and early 2007, and complete the procedure of raising a $30-mln syndicated loan at Libor + 2.4% per annum in early July.

As of October 1, 2005, the bank's assets aggregated 25.84 billion rubles (about $903 million) and its shareholder equity was 2.9 billion rubles (about $101 million). The bank intends to double its assets and shareholder equity by late 2006.

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