Russia's Rosneft asks state for $40 bn to weather sanctions

Reuters, Thursday 14 Aug 2014

 Igor Sechin, the head of Russian oil giant Rosneft, has asked the government to provide the company with 1.5 trillion roubles ($41.6 billion) to help the company weather western sanctions, the Vedomosti newspaper reported on Thursday.

Under the plan, the state would spend money from its National Wealth Fund to buy Rosneft bonds, the paper reported, citing government sources. The paper added that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev had asked officials to analyse the idea.

Rosneft net debt stood exactly at 1.5 trillion roubles at the end of the second quarter. The company needs to repay 440 billion roubles by year-end and another 626 billion roubles next year, according to its latest presentation.

Vedomosti said that Sechin had called for the aid as a response to Western sanctions. The United States has banned credits and loans to Rosneft with a maturity longer than 90 days, and European banks and investors have de facto joined the sanctions, the paper reported.

Apart from Rosneft, other sanctions-hit Russian firms, including Gazprombank, VEB and Russian Agricultural bank, have asked the government to support them via state funds.

There are insufficient funds in the National Wealth Fund to finance the injection, Vedomosti said, as much of the 3.1 trillion rouble ($86 billion) fund has already been assigned to other projects.

An anonymous official cited by the paper called Sechin's plan "horrible", and another government source told the paper that Medvedev was unlikely to back it. Rosneft declined to comment to Reuters.

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