Troika Dialog in Debt Fund Talks

Troika Dialog is in talks with the government on starting a distressed debt fund to benefit from plunging asset values, Troika chairman Ruben Vardanian said.

"Institutions and individuals are interested in putting in some money, together with the combination of some potential government sources of money," Vardanian said in an interview.

The government has pledged about $200 billion in emergency funding to help companies weather the crisis. That includes $50 billion that state investment bank Vneshekonombank is lending to the biggest enterprises so they can pay foreign creditors and avoid selling assets.

"A lot of companies in the second and third level, not the top level, have a good team and a normal business model, and they just need to be helped," Vardanian said, declining to estimate the size of the fund. "It's just a question of supporting them in different ways, including buying debt from the market, giving them the chance to have a bit of air."