Minsk’s Belarusbank has signed the largest syndicated loan in its history with a group of 15 institutions.

The one-year oversubscribed US$145mn loan was originally set at US$100mn.

“The almost 50% oversubscription demonstrates the growing confidence and trust international investors place in the Belorussian banking system and in particular in Belarusbank,” says a spokesperson from the bank.

VTB Bank, VTB Germany, Credit Suisse, OTP Bank, Alfa-Bank and Promsvyazbank acted as mandated lead arrangers for the deal, with Germany’s BayernLB acting as placement agent.

Joining as leading managers were London Forfaiting Company, PPF Banka, Novikombank, Banque de Commerce et de Placements and Credit Europe Bank, while Commerzbank, Banca International and Ausfuhrkredit-Gesellschaft acted as co-managers.

“This deal appeared to be the next step in cooperation of VTB and the banking sector of the Republic of Belarus as a strategic partner of Russia,” Belarusbank says in a statement.

From 2009, Russia’s VTB has arranged and provided US$470mn in syndicated loans and trade-related funds to Belarusian banks.

“It’s pretty significant that foreign banks are investing there at the moment, increasing their lending and retail activities.”

“It’s the nature of the market that deals such as this are being received positively at the moment,” Simon Lay, managing director at London Forfaiting Company tells GTR.

“Belarus managed to come out of the global financial crisis relatively unscathed, I believe it was the only country in the region to come out with a positive GDP. But of course, that is not to say that things cannot go wrong.”

“It’s pretty significant that foreign banks are investing there at the moment, increasing their lending and retail activities – although these are mainly Russian and Ukrainian investors for now.”

In February 2010, Belarusbank signed a US$60mn dual tranche trade-related syndicated term loan facility by VTB and Italy’s Intesa Sanpaolo.

Alfa-Bank, OTP and London Forfaiting were also involved in the February deal.

On October 18, 2010, ratings agency Fitch upgraded the long-term issuer default ratings of Belarusbank from B- to B and revised the outlook on the new rating from negative to stable.

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