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Rosneft plans $3 bln of loans, bonds to back acquisitions

OAO Rosneft, Russia's state-run oil producer, plans to raise as much as $3 billion in loans and bonds in the next month to help buy assets of bankrupt OAO Yukos Oil Co., a banker hired to arrange the financing said.

The transactions will refinance part of a $24.5 billion bridge loan OAO Rosneft got last year from ABN Amro Holding NV, Barclays Plc, Calyon, Citigroup Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley. The same seven banks will arrange a new loan for as much as $2.5 billion, said the banker, who didn't want to be identified.
The loan, backed by export receivables, will be marketed to more lenders in March, and the bond will be sold afterwards, the banker said. Underwriters for the bond, planned for $500 million, haven't yet been announced, he said. Rosneft, which pumps more oil than OPEC member Algeria, is seeking to become Russia's largest oil producer. It bought OAO Yukos Oil Co.'s production unit, OAO Yuganskneftegaz in 2004 and Siberian oil producer OAO Udmurtneft from BP Plc last year.
Yukos, once Russia's largest oil company, was declared bankrupt by a Moscow court last year after the government levied a bill for more than $30 billion in back taxes. It is auctioning $13 billion of assets starting in April. Rosneft has an investment-grade credit rating of Baa2 from Moody's Investors Service and a non-investment grade of BB+ from Standard & Poor's. Moody's has a positive outlook on its rating, indicating it is more likely to upgrade the debt. (Bloomberg)