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Gazprombank to sell three-year floating-rate bonds

ZAO Gazprombank, the banking unit of the world's largest natural gas producer, is selling three-year bonds in dollars at a yield less than existing debt.

The Moscow-based bank's floating-rate notes are being offered to investors at a yield of 90 basis points more than the three-month London interbank offered rate, according to bankers involved in the transaction. ZAO Gazprombank is pricing the new bond as much as 20 basis points less than outstanding debt, said Mikhail Galkin, head of fixed income research at MDM Bank in Moscow. The bank's $300 million of notes due in 2011 pay interest of 7.97%. Converting the fixed-rate payment to a floating rate translates to between 100 and 110 basis points over Libor, Galkin said.

Russian lenders are tapping international bond markets as the country's economy expands for a ninth year, boosting demand for retail and corporate loans. Russia's loan market is estimated to grow on average 33% a year through 2009, UBS AG said in a report published last week. Gazprombank's issue will be „benchmark” in size, which is considered to be at least $500 million. UBS AG and Dresdner Bank AG are managing the sale. Bondholders cut the yield premium on developing nation bonds by 2 basis points today to 1.76 percentage points over Treasury yields, according to JPMorgan Chase & Co.'s EMBI Plus index. JPMorgan's index of dollar-denominated debt sold by Russian companies rose 0.15% yesterday to a record. The index has returned 8.35% in the past year.

Russia's currency, the ruble, fell 0.02% to 25.98 per dollar at 10 a.m. in London. It rose 0.11% to 34.72 to the euro. (Bloomberg)