February 12, 2015 / 6:27 AM / 5 years ago

Malaysian billionaire set to pay 1MDB loan ahead of deadline -sources

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 12 (Reuters) - Malaysian billionaire Ananda Krishnan is preparing to settle a $550 million loan owed by troubled state fund 1MDB, four sources familiar with the matter said - a last-minute reprieve for the fund whose debt woes are pressuring the ringgit and the country’s sovereign credit rating.

The development fund, which owns a large portfolio of power plants, has missed payments on the bridge loan that was due end-December and its lenders were keen to see it paid before they had to write it down in first-quarter earnings, bankers said.

Local media have reported that the final deadline was Feb. 18.

Ananda, who sold his collection of power plants to 1MDB , has been in talks with 1MDB to become a cornerstone investor in the long-delayed $3 billion listing of its power assets.

The 2 billion ringgit loan is owed to the country’s largest bank, Malayan Banking Bhd, and smaller lender RHB Capital Bhd, and was guaranteed by Ananda’s company Usaha Tegas, people with knowledge of the talks said.

“The banks already know Ananda is payingeverything is in process,” said one of the sources.

The sources declined to be identified as the discussions are private. The banks did not respond to a request for comment. 1MDB declined to comment and Usaha Tegas could not immediately be reached for a comment.

1MDB, whose advisory board is chaired by Prime Minister Najib Razak, has some $11.6 billion in total debt. ($1 = 3.6175 ringgit) (Reporting by Yantoultra Ngui and Praveen Menon, additional reporting by Saeed Azhar; Editing by Edwina Gibbs)

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