ABN AMRO and Calyon as initial mandated lead arrangers and bookrunners have closed syndication for an unsecured US$250mn term loan facility for Russia’s Lukoil.


The facility pays a margin of 0.40% per year and has a five-year maturity. It was pre-funded on April 23 and utilised the same day to refinance the remaining outstanding portion of Lukoil’s US$765mn syndicated pre-export facility arranged in 2003.


The transaction was launched on March 23 when a group of banks were offered take-and-hold-tickets. The syndication was positively received in the market and closed more than twice oversubscribed.


This represents a significant endorsement from the market of the strength of Lukoil credit, claim the arrangers, for what is the lowest-priced five -year unsecured syndicated loan to a Russian corporate to date. The borrower elected not to increase the facility amount and instead scaled back the banks “commitments.


Over the last 15 years Lukoil has continued to retain a relatively high degree of financial flexibility such that it currently enjoys an investment grade rating from two of the major rating agencies, Moody’s (Baa2) and Fitch (BBB-).


Lukoil’s limited indebtedness is now primarily unsecured and as a result of the implementation of this facility it no longer has any secured debt at the holding company level.


Mandated lead arrangers are: Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation Europe; Dresdner Kleinwort; Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ; Barclays Bank; DekaBank Deutsche Girozentrale Luxembourg; Fortis Bank (Nederland) Global Commodities Group – Energy; HSBC Bank; ING; Intesa Sanpaolo; Mizuho Corporate Bank.


Arrangers are: JPMorgan Chase Bank; OKO Bank.


Akbank is a co-arranger, while Chang Hwa Commercial Bank Limited, London, is a lead manager.