The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and Mizuho Corporate Bank have signed a bank-to-bank loan agreement of up to ¥10bn (US$84mn) with Gazprombank. It is the largest loan JBIC has provided to support exports to the Russian manufacturing sector since the Russian financial crisis in 1998.

JBIC is providing 60% of the total facility, while Mizuho is the sole co-financier for the remaining 40%. This portion is guaranteed by Nexi.

Via Gazprombank, Russian importer Uraltrubprom will be using the loan to import ERW pipe manufacturing equipment from Mitsubishi Corporation, Nakata MFG and Mitsubishi-Hitachi Metals Machinery.

Last month Gazprombank announced it was to establish a presence in London through an affiliated financial company. Approvals from the Central Bank of Russia and UK authorities are expected to be completed between 6-12 months. Gazprom has hired Ulrich Gerza from Dresdner Kleinwort as executive vice-president to lead all the required preparatory work.