VTB helped to launch the privatization of Rosneft

The bank issued a loan of 692 billion rubles for the purchase of 19.5% stake in the oil company.
"We need future investors and purchasers to look for their own resources or loans, but not the loans from state-owned banks," warned President Vladimir Putin during the meeting on privatization with the heads of major Russian companies in February last year.

But the privatization of Rosneft did not pass without the participation of a state bank. On December 15, VTB gave Singaporean QHG Shares Limited a loan in the amount of 692 billion rubles (10.2 billion euros) for purchased Rosneft shares, according to the documents of the owner of the package, an equal joint venture of Glencore and Qatar investment fund (QIA). What kind of package is that, the documents didn't reveal. But exactly 692 billion rubles was the price pf 19.5% shares of Rosneft offered for sale by Rosneftegas". And that's exactly the income from the transaction plus a premium of 18 billion rubles, which was trasnferred by Rosneftegas to the budget on December, 16.

VTB hadn't been the lender for the buyers for a long time. On December 22, the requirement on the loan, together with the provision, moved to the very Rosneftegas. On January 3, a consortium of Glencore and QIA finally became the owner of shares in Rosneft. Rosneftegas took the pledge with shares, according to the documents of QHG Shares. On what conditions did VTB give the loan and for how much did Rosneftegas buy back the rights for the claim, documents didn't mention. They only said that the interest income of state companies amounted to EUR 25.4 million.

It turns out that VTB and Rosneftegas were the bridge lenders for Glencore and QIA. Initially, it was announced that a big part of the transaction was financed by the Italian bank Intesa Sanpaolo. But as early as on December, 19, the representative of Intesa said that the bank's participation in financing the transaction with Rosneft shares "are still in a phase of consideration."

Then, sources close to the transaction parties and officials said something different: some claimed that Intesa did provide funding for the transaction, others said that the Russian banks could take a part in it, and yet others mentioned the fact that on the eve of the deal, Rosneft urgently placed bonds wprtj 600 billion rubles, and on December 19, these securities were included in the Lombard list of the Central Bank.

As a result, Intesa lent EUR 5.2 billion, 2.5 billion euros were provided by QIA, 0.3 billion by Glencore. The remaining 2.2 billion euros plus interest on the debt to Rosneftegas will be held in the form of a loan of shareholders, as stated in the documents. That is, Glencore and QIA.

VTB press service declined to comment. All the objectives set out in the framework of this transaction have been fully implemented, said a representative of Rosneft. And such a sequence was due to the fact that, in particular, one of the objectives was to avoid volatility in the currency market, he continues. Presidential press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, left without comment the question on how participation of VTB in the transaction is related to the president's requirement and whether the president knew about it.

VTB's participation does not contradict the president's request, a federal official says. After all, the money obtained under the loan agreement would become the property of the borrower, the Singaporean company, he says.

Given the constraints of maximum risk per borrower or group at 25% of the capital, VTB may hand out only 270 billion rubles., Fitch analyst Alexander Danilov said. Theoretically, banks can give more if the deal is structured as a reverse repo transaction with the liquid market trading (buying securities with repurchase), which can significantly reduce the risk factor and, consequently, the value of the norm H6, he adds. On December 1, 2016 the state bank capital under RAS amounted to 1.08 trillion rubles.

VTB has provided a temporary liquidity for the execution of the transaction before the end of the year, as soon as possible all the requirements had been assigned, so the president's instruction was not violated, said a federal official who participated in the privatization process: "It is normal practice." It was necessary to urgently get the money until the end of the year, because it was already decided that the Reserve Fund could not be used to cover the deficit in 2016 anymore; the expense of the money from the sale of Rosneft had to cover the deal, and therefore there was a need in a mediator in the form of VTB, says the official . Formally, Rosneft is not a state-owned company, the sale of Federal Property Management Agency was not engaged in the deal (Rosneftegas did it), and respectively, the normal rules were not applicable, concludes the official.

The QIA representative could not be reached for comment. His colleagues from Glencore and Intesa have not responded to the request from Vedomosti.

The complicated structure

The British QHG Holding was established on December, 5, 2016, which is now on an equal footing belongs to Glencore and Qatar Holding controlled by the emirate of Qatar. On the same day QHG Investment was established, owned by QHG Holding (99%) and Qatar Holding (0,01%). Its purpose was to attract funding. Singaporean QHG Shares, which is owned by QHG Investment, should have received the accumulated sum of EUR 10.2 billion for the deal with Rosneft through an additional issue of its shares.