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Evraz Group secures $3.2 bln loan

MOSCOW, November 23 (RIA Novosti) - Evraz Group S.A. [LSE: EVR], Russia's largest steel and mining group, said on Friday that it had secured a $3.2 billion credit facility, which will be used to repay a bridging loan and for corporate purposes.

The company said in a news release the loan, with an interest rate of LIBOR+1.8%, would be received in two tranches consisting of a "$2.7 billion five-year tranche" and "a $500 million three-year unsecured tranche."

The loan is guaranteed by Mastercroft Ltd and underwritten by a group of 10 banks, including ABN Amro, Barclays Capital, ING, Tokyo-Mitsubishi among others.

The Evraz Group is one of the world's leading steel and mining companies, with operations mainly in Russia. It includes three of Russia's top steel companies - Nizhny Tagil (NTMK) in the Urals region, West Siberian (ZapSib) and Novokuznetsk (NKMK) in Siberia. Evraz accounts for over 20% of global vanadium output.

The company doubled its net profits calculated to International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) to $1.126 billion, year-on-year, in the first half of 2007. In 2006 Evraz posted a 51% rise in net profits, to $1.385 billion, from 2005, and its sales grew 27.4% to $8.292 billion. In 2007 the company plans to keep steel output at the 2006 levels of 16 million metric tons.

In August 2006, the Evraz Group sold 41% of its stock to U.K.-based Millhouse Capital, which manages Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich's assets. The company did not disclose the price, but experts estimated the deal at $2.7-3 billion.

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