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Western Consortium loans Uralsib $33M

A consortium of Western banks on Friday granted Bashkortostan-based Uralsib a one-year, $33 million loan -- the largest unsecured, syndicated credit to a domestic bank since the 1998 crisis.

Interest on the loan is 3.5 percent above the London interbank offered rate, or LIBOR.

"Loans have been given on a very selective basis [since the crisis] to assure that funds are used in an appropriate way," said Martin Czhurda, head of the global financial institutions department at Austria's Raiffeisen Zentralbank, which led the consortium. "We want to be sure that we don't repeat the mistakes of 1998," he added.

The loan was co-syndicated by Dresdner Bank, Commerzbank, American Express Bank, Banque Bruxelles Lambert, ING Group, Bank Gesellschaft Berlin, London-based Moscow Narodny Bank, Adria Bank, DZ Bank and the Export-Import Bank of China.

Only a few Russian banks have managed to attract money from abroad since August 1998, when the banking sector defaulted on billions of dollars in loans.

Standard Bank of London syndicated a $20 million loan for No. 4 bank Alfa Bank last year. The one-year loan, provided by several European banks, had a rate of LIBOR plus 3.75 percent. Also last year, MDM-Bank received a six-month, $10 million loan at LIBOR plus 4.125 percent syndicated by Raiffeisenbank Austria. And earlier this year, Nomos-Bank received a $17 million loan syndicated by Standard Bank.

(The Moscow Times 26.viii.02)

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