Sberbank to Aid Russian Aluminum

Oleg Deripaska and Roman Abramovich, founders of giant aluminum holding Russian Aluminum, are actively buying up shares in metallurgical enterprises and need copious funds to do so.

It was revealed Thursday that loans to support more purchases will come from state-controlled savings bank Sberbank.

On Thursday, Sberbank and Russian Aluminum signed a partnership agreement under which Sberbank will open a credit line of $200 million to Russian Aluminum enterprises.

The heads of the two organizations announced Thursday at a joint press conference that a credit agreement would soon be signed with the Bratsk and Krasnoyarsk aluminum smelters and with Siberian Aluminum.

The credits, which are intended principally for topping up cash reserves, are to be released for up to 12 months.

Normally Sberbank requires shares as security for its loans, but this time there are no such conditions.

Bankers said that the smelters are able to offer equipment or export contracts as alternative forms of collateral.

Nonetheless, MDM vice president, Yevgeny Sobolev announced that the bank would continue to act as a strategic partner for Russian Aluminum.

"By the end of the year we will extend a $1-billion credit line to Russian Aluminum's enterprises. Furthermore, only the Krasnoyarsk aluminum smelter and the Belokalitvinsk metal plant will be serviced by Sberbank and only because we don't have our own branches in these regions," Sobolev said.

The new creditor is no surprise.

Recently, Russian Aluminum's shareholders concluded several major transactions to acquire the Bratsk smelter, the Achinsk alumina plant the Belokalitvinsk metal plant and the Irkutsk Hydroelectric Power Station.