Raiffeisen Zentralbank Österreich AG (RZB) and ZAO Raiffeisenbank Austria (RBA), as mandated joint arrangers, and a consortium of lenders have signed into the US$38mn 364-day extension of a syndicated term loan facility dated August 23, 2002 for Ural-Siberian Bank, OJSC (USB). The signing took place on August 18 in Moscow.

Due to the deal being oversubscribed, USB has increased the facility amount by US$5mn to US$33mn. The purpose is to finance certain trade-related projects of USB’s major customers as well as projects of the Republic of Bashkortostan. The revised margin of 3% pa for the extension compared to 3.5% pa for the initial transaction is among the most competitive rates for a Russian bank in “post-crisis” times.

In addition to a reduced margin and increased total amount the number of lenders increased. Only China Ex-Im Bank did not extend, but it was replaced by two new banks, namely ABN Amro Bank AO and Bank Melli Iran, Hamburg.

Furthermore, Commerzbank (Eurasija) SAO increased its participation by US$1mn.

A total of 12 lenders (including the mandated joint arrangers) have joined the facility. RZB acted as bookrunner, is facility and documentation agent and was responsible for preparing the information memorandum. RBA acts as local facility agent.

Mandated joint arrangers: Raiffeisen Zentralbank Österreich (US$4mn), ZAO Raiffeisenbank Austria (US$4mn), and Commerzbank (Eurasija) SAO (US$5mn).

Lead arrangers: Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein (US$5mn), American Express Bank Ltd (US$4mn).

Arrangers: ING (US$4mn), ABN Amro Bank AO (US$3mn).

Co-Arrangers: Bankgesellschaft Berlin (US$3mn), Bank Melli Iran, Hamburg (US$2mn). Lead managers: Moscow Narodny Bank Limited (US$2mn), Adria Bank (US$1mn).

Manager: DZ Bank AG Deutsche Zentral-Genossenschaftsbank (US$1mn).

URALSIB was founded in 1993 by the Government of the Republic of Bashkortostan (Russia) as a universal bank and is the leading bank in this region. Ural-Siberian Bank is 37.5% owned by the Republic of Bashkortostan. With the oil sector in prevalent, the republic ranks second in the Urals region in terms of manufacturing potential, the Republic of Bashkortostan is the largest industrial centre in Russia.

The bank has never defaulted under its obligations and has well weathered the financial crisis of 1998.

Due to bank’s positive developments both the external ratings by S&P (B-/stable/C) and Fitch (B/B/D/4T/stable) were increased during the past few months. UralSib has recently successfully placed the equity increase and the debut Eurobonds, with the lowest coupon rate compared to its banking peers in Russia: in May and June 2003 respectively.