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NOVO-OGARYOVO, October 29. /TASS/. The management of the heavily-indebted mining and metal giant Mechel has failed to respond to its creditors’ proposals to rescue the company from its bankruptcy, Russian presidential aide Andrey Belousov said on Wednesday.
“There is a reasonable platform for compromises and all the proposals have been made but the Mechel management has not responded to these proposals in a duly manner so far,” Belousov said.
The situation with Mechel’s debts is not easy, the presidential aide said.
Mechel, which was actively buying assets with foreign and domestic loans amid the 2008-2009 global economic slump, cannot service its debt, which has soared to over $8 billion. The metals giant is currently in talks with its major lenders to try to agree on rescheduling its liabilities.
Mechel’s major creditors are Russia’s largest lender Sberbank ($1.3 billion), Gazprombank ($2.3 billion) and VTB Bank ($1.8 billion).
Russian government officials earlier discussed various options of restructuring Mechel’s debts and stabilizing its financial position, while also considering a possibility of the company’s bankruptcy.
One option under discussion is for Russia’s rail monopoly Russian Railways (RZD) to buy Mechel’s rail link. However, RZD is ready to buy the railroad, only if it receives state funds for this purchase. Mechel’s expenses on the rail link’s construction are estimated at 70 billion rubles ($1.7 billion).
Sberbank initiated in early October a series of lawsuits worth a total of 1.5 billion rubles ($38 million) against Mechel and its subsidiaries for debt recovery.
The lawsuits were filed both against Mechel and its subsidiaries acting as Mechel’s guarantors.
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.