"Transneft" in early July, repaid ahead of schedule a loan from the Chinese state bank CDBC for $ 10 billion, said the company's CEO Nikolai Tokarev at a meeting with journalists. He added that now the company does not have currency borrowings, which under current conditions were more expensive than ruble ones. As a result, Transneft got rid of currency risks, in an attempt to hedge which the company had once lost 65 billion rubles, and also reduced its vulnerability to potential new sanctions by the US.
Transneft fully repaid the $ 10bn loan on July 25, attracted in 2009 from the Chinese state bank CDBC for the construction of the first stage of the Eastern Siberia-Pacific Ocean oil pipeline (ESPO). Nikolai Tokarev, the head of Transneft, told journalists that in this way, after the planned repayment of Eurobonds for $ 1 billion on August 7, the company did not have any loans in foreign currency. He noted that, given the fluctuations in the ruble exchange rate, the real effective interest rate on the Chinese loan rose to 13% per annum, and for eurobonds to 21%, which is significantly higher than the current value of ruble debt financing (less than 10%). Mr. Tokarev also stressed that for three years the company had been consistently withdrawing from foreign currency loans, which were risky for it, since Transneft has almost no foreign currency earnings. He did not disclose the repayment amount, but according to Transneft's reports, at the end of the second quarter, the outstanding balance of the Chinese loan was 109.85 billion rubles. (about $ 1.75 billion).
Kommersant's interlocutors in the industry said that Transneft finally decided to get rid of the Chinese loan as quickly as possible, the scheduled repayment of which was not until 2029, after an unsuccessful attempt to hedge currency risks through a deal with Sberbank.
The fall in the ruble exchange rate at the end of 2014 led to the fact that Transneft lost 65.5 billion rubles on this deal. and even tried to challenge her in court, eventually concluding a settlement with the bank. According to his conditions, as Kommersant wrote on April 2, Sberbank issued a loan to Transneft for 253 billion rubles, a large part of which was directed to early repayment of the Chinese loan.
At the same time, Kommersant's interlocutors said in early summer that Transneft plans to fully repay the Chinese loan for 2019. The change in plans may be due to the fact that Transneft has free funds due to the fact that the company has not yet succeeded in closing the deal to purchase the stake of the Suma group in the Novorossiysk commercial seaport, since the main beneficiaries of Summa Ziyavudin and Magomed Magomedov was under arrest. In addition, an additional risk is the possible tightening of sanctions on the part of the US - in that hypothetical case, if a ban is imposed on Transneft for calculating in dollars, the company would not be able to properly handle foreign currency loans.
"The main advantage for Transneft as a result of repayment of foreign currency loans is that the company excludes currency risks, both related to fluctuations in rates, and with possible sanctions," the analyst of Raiffeisenbank Sergey Garamita states.