TMK Gets $1.1Bln In Loans

Pipe maker TMK has raised $1.1 billion in loans from Gazprombank to repay a loan it took last year to buy IPSCO's North American plate and pipe assets from Sweden's SSAB, it said Monday.

In partnership with steelmaker Evraz, TMK paid $4.025 billion for IPSCO's U.S. and Canadian assets last March.

As part of that deal, Evraz acquired U.S. steel and tube maker NS Group and immediately sold 51 percent of it to TMK, which had an option to buy the rest.

TMK has now taken full control of NS Group by paying $508 million in addition to the $1.2 billion paid previously, Evraz said in its own statement on Monday, adding that it will keep the proceeds to make interest payments on its debt in 2009.

Evraz built up considerable debt in recent years through acquisitions in Africa, Europe and North America. In November, the group obtained $1.8 billion in credits from state-owned VEB to refinance debt.

Evraz also said on Monday that its steel production fell to 3.25 million tons in the fourth quarter of 2008, down 33.5 percent on the third quarter. For the full year, steel output grew 7.1 percent to 17.7 million tons, it said.

TMK used the new 2 1/2-year loan from Gazprombank to repay part of the $1.2 billion, one-year syndicated loan it took out to fund the North American acquisition.

Half of that loan had already been refinanced in July through the issue of a eurobond.