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“The dialogue is in progress. I would prefer not to discuss that for now. There have emerged some new elements over the past few days. Possibly we shall need several more days to understand to what extent we are ready (to compromise). We are not aggressive at all. Mechel is our old-time client. We just want to save the company,” Kostin said.
He explained that the creditors were going ahead with negotiations and if the banks managed to come to terms with the company, the VTB would revoke its three-billion-rouble lawsuit against Mechel.
“For the time being we have collected overdue payments. It is the bank’s usual logic - if no money is paid, you’ve got to do something about that. We have been unable to reach agreement so far. When we have an arrangement we shall withdraw our lawsuit,” Kostin said.
Earlier, Russian presidential aide Andrey Belousov said that he saw a possibility Mechel might achieve a final settlement with its biggest creditors, who account for its $5.5 billion debt: Sberbank ($1.3 billion), Gazprombank ($2.3 billion) and the VTB ($1.8 billion).
In the meantime the VTB and Sberbank declared they were prepared to press for their rights in a court of law. The VTB has filed a lawsuit at the Moscow Court of Arbitration demanding over $75 million from Mechel.
Major creditors of the Russian heavily-indebted metals giant Mechel are ready to raise $1 billion to reschedule the company’s loan syndicated by western banks, if they join Mechel’s capital, VTB Bank head Andrei Kostin said on Wednesday.
Mechel raised the $1 billion loan from western banks through its Mechel-Mining division. Mechel announced in late 2013 it had agreed on amending the terms of the $1 billion syndicated loan to extend the grace period until the end of 2014 and postponing the principal repayment until late 2016.
The agreement on the $1 billion loan was signed by a syndicate of banks, in which ING Bank N.V., Societe Generale and VTB Capital acted as the loan arrangers. The loan was raised for Mechel’s mining enterprises - Yakutugol and Southern Kuzbass.
Mechel’s outstanding loans raised from foreign banks total $1.7 billion.
Mechel’s three largest creditors, which account for over $5 billion of the company’s total debt of $8.3 billion, are currently discussing the restructuring of these liabilities.
The Mechel group incorporates coalmining divisions and producers of iron ore, steel, rolled stock, ferroalloys, high value added items, and thermal and electric power. It employs a total staff of 70,000. Its main shareholder Igor Zyuzin owns a 67.42% stake. Earlier, Mechel said that Zyuzin’s companies registered in Cyprus had reduced the amount of the company’s pledged shares to 27.22% from 41.57%.