October 30, 2017 / 11:22 AM / a year ago

INTERVIEW-Russia's VTB says Russneft, M.Video servicing their loans

MOSCOW, Oct 30 (Reuters) - Russian bank VTB’s loans to oil company Russneft and retailer M.Video, both part of the business empire behind troubled B&N bank, are being serviced and VTB has no plans to take equity stakes in either firm, a senior executive told Reuters.

Russneft, a mid-sized Russian oil producer, and Russia’s largest home electronics retailer, M.Video, are both part of Safmar group, whose B&N bank was taken over by the Russian central bank last month.

Mikhail Gutseriyev, whose family controls Safmar, told the Vedomosti newspaper in August that Russneft owed VTB $1.26 billion.

“Russneft’s debt to VTB is being serviced, the company is in good shape. They have hedged quite a significant part of their (oil) production on the global oil market ... We don’t have any issues,” Yuri Solovyov, VTB’s first deputy chief executive, said in an interview.

Asked whether there was a need to convert Russneft’s debts to VTB into the oil company’s equity, Solovyov said: “No, the company feels good.”

As part of a bail-out, B&N bank’s co-owners are transferring some Safmar assets to B&N. The value of the assets was estimated by one of the co-owners to be worth over 300 billion roubles ($5.2 billion), but details were not made public in full.

It was not clear whether assets such as Russneft or another oil company, Neftisa, were part of that process.

Solovyov, whose bank also holds a stake in M.Video as collateral under a loan to Safmar, said that debt was being “stably serviced” and there was no need to take a direct equity stake in M.Video either.

Solovyov added VTB was ready to provide a loan of $500-550 million to transport company Fesco if it succeeded in restructuring its debt with bond holders.

$1 = 57.7925 roubles Reporting by Katya Golubkova; Editing by Andrew Osborn and Mark Potter

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