MOSCOW, December 5 /TASS/. The Moscow Court of Arbitration has upheld the VTB bank’s claim to recover 2.99 billion rubles ($55.5 million) from the debt-riddent Mechel mining and metals company to service a loan tapped in December 2010.
Mechel will challenge the court’s decision, the representative said. The Mechel representative told a court hearing on Friday that VTB was also demanding an early repayment of 47 billion rubles ($873.4 million) by Mechel. “Mechel was notified of the new claim on November 12,” the Mechel representative went on to say.
The court considered earlier on Friday the bank’s 2.99 billion ruble debt claim against Mechel for servicing a loan taken out in December 2010, and the company’s representative asked to postpone the hearing referring to the new claim as the reason.
“This sum has never been discussed during negotiations (on restructuring the company’s total debt)… We need to be sure that the government has agreed with this new claim on 47 billion (rubles) as it drastically changes the Mechel situation and the situation concerning banking claims in the country,” the representative said.
But the court dismissed the request and upheld the 2.99 billion ruble claim. The total debt of Mechel to creditors amounts to about $7 billion.
At present, Mechel has great difficulties in servicing a loan which has decreased by $1 billion to $7 billion since the start of September 2014 due to the ruble devaluation.
In mid-October, Mechel said that before the end of 2014, the company should restructure $680 million worth of short-term debt.
Specialized agencies together with bank creditors, investment consultants and Mechel representatives are considering an opportunity to restructure the company’s debt.
In autumn this year, VTB and Sberbank sued Mechel for a total of 4.5 billion rubles ($83.6 million) with a demand to return the outstanding debt.
Another major creditor — Gazprombank — has not sued Mechel in court. As it became known in mid-October, Mechel and Gazprombank reached preliminary agreements on postponement of credit payments valued at $170 million to 2015.