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    Russian mobile firm MTS agrees $630 mln loan reschedule

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    MOSCOW, May 5 (RIA Novosti) - MTS, Russia's largest mobile phone operator, has agreed with a group of foreign banks to reschedule its $630 million syndicated loan until 2012, a source in banking quarters said on Tuesday.

    MTS, which provides services to over 93 million subscribers in Russia alone, raised a syndicated loan facility worth a total of $1.33 billion in April 2006. The loan facility was granted in two tranches, $630 million and $730 million, for three and five years, respectively.

    The loan facility was arranged by The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ Ltd., Bayerische Landesbank, HSBC Bank plc, ING Bank N.V., Raiffeisen Zentralbank Oesterreich AG and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe Limited. Later, some other major foreign banks joined the loan syndicate as its underwriters and managers.

    MTS channeled the loan proceeds into the refinancing of its liabilities, and also for general corporate needs, including the acquisition of companies.

    According to the source, the reschedule agreement with the banks is expected to be signed next week. The first tranche will have to be repaid at an annual interest rate of LIBOR plus 6.5% compared with the original rate of LIBOR plus 0.8%. On top of that, the mobile operator will have to pay a fee of 2.5% per annum to the consortium of banks.

    A company spokeswoman said that MTS, like any other company, was interested in the current economic conditions in prolonging the loan repayment as much as possible at a maximally advantageous rate.

    MTS posted a US GAAP net income of $1.93 billion and revenues of $10.25 billion in 2008.

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