LONDON Oct 15 International bank appetite for
Rosneft's $15 billion loan has prompted the Russian
oil group to cut the interest margin and lower its request for
commitments by lenders to around $1.5 billion from $2.5 billion,
several bankers said.
The financing will back Rosneft's bid for British oil
company BP's 50 percent stake in TNK-BP,
Russia's third largest oil producer.
The debt will be made up of a bridge loan, term loans and
bonds. Up to 14 international banks are responding to Rosneft's
revised terms after they were tweaked in late-September.
"Rosneft has squeezed down the commitments as more banks
have come in, which has led to competitive tension," one
European banker said on Monday. A second banker said uninvited
banks were "firing in their offers".
Under the revised terms, lenders are asked for commitments
of $1 billion on a bridge loan - halved from $2 billion - and
around $500 million on a five-year term loan, which remains
unchanged. The bridge loan is split between two tranches with
maturities of one and two years.
The term loan initially carried an interest margin of 240
basis points and an all-in cost - the margin plus fees payable
to lenders - of 300 bps, in line with the borrower's $2.6
billion deal in April.
However, lender demand for the new loan has resulted in
Rosneft's all-in cost being reduced for both the bridge and the
term loans to well below 300 bps, the bankers said.
Rosneft's relationship banks poised to join include Bank of
America Merrill Lynch, Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, BNP
Paribas, Citi, JP Morgan, Societe Generale, SMBC, and UniCredit,
three bankers said.
Rosneft will receive extra support from three of Russia's
top banks - Gazprombank, Sberbank and VTB - as they consider
bilateral loans of around $1 billion each, a Russian banker
Rosneft was not available to comment on a deal that would be
the country's third-largest corporate loan and would boost weak
loan volumes in the country this year.
Russian borrowers raised $15 billion in the first nine
months of 2012, the lowest nine-month total since 2009,
according to Thomson Reuters LPC data.
Bidding will open this week for BP's half of TNK-BP with
Rosneft tipped as the likely buyer.