(Adds detail, Filev comment)
MOSCOW, Nov 3 (Reuters) - Russia’s central bank is considering relaxing rules for banks that lent to troubled airline Transaero, a senior central banker said on Tuesday, a day after a deal to buy a controlling stake in the airline fell through.
Alexei Simanovsky, first deputy governor of the central bank, told reporters that the bank was considering extending the time period over which banks had to create loan-loss provisions, thereby easing pressure on their balance sheets.
“We are thinking that it could be an extension on creating reserves,” Simanovsky said.
Russian state banks Sberbank, VTB and development bank VEB are among the top lenders to Transaero, which lost its licence on Oct. 26, and some of the creditors have filed bankruptcy suits against the carrier.
Transaero, formerly Russia’s second-largest airline, had expanded rapidly and added new routes, counting on a rising market before Western sanctions and a weak rouble hit the Russian economy and Transaero’s debt ballooned.
On Monday, Russian agencies reported that S7 airlines co-owner Vladislav Filev had exited a deal to buy 51 percent of Transaero. Top airline Aeroflot earlier called off a separate deal to buy Transaero.
A representative for Filev said in a statement on Tuesday that the deal had been called off because Transaero’s current shareholders no longer had an unencumbered controlling stake in the company. Moreover, a portion of their shares were subject to outstanding legal claims, the statement said.
Filev’s representative added that the S7 co-owner had pulled out of the deal as soon as it was clear that the current Transaero shareholders couldn’t gather a 51 percent stake to sell.
RBC daily reported on Monday that the deal had been obstructed by the fact that 25 percent of Transaero shares were now held as collateral by VTB, with other banks holding other smaller stakes in the airline, following missed loan repayments.
$1 = 63.8500 roubles Reporting by Oksana Kobzeva and Katya Golubkova; Writing by Alexander Winning; editing by Adrian Croft