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Rusal, one of the world’s largest aluminium companies, has signed an interim credit facility agreement with BNP Paribas, Citigroup, Natexis Banques Populaires and Standard Bank London for up to US$300mn as a bridge to a larger syndicated financing planned by the company in the near future.

The facility is scheduled to be drawn by the end of January 2004, with the funds used to replace some of Rusal’s existing debt on more favourable terms. The loan is secured by export sales of primary aluminium and alloys. Natexis Banques Populaires acts as facility and security agent of the facility.

Based on an agreement recently signed, the interim facility is being provided to Rusal for a term of up to two years with a six-month grace period. However, it is expected to be refinanced in the next six months by a new long-term pre-export finance facility of at least twice the amount of the interim facility. The arrangers of the interim facility have been appointed by Rusal as mandated lead arrangers (MLAs) for the new syndication; however, additional MLAs may be appointed by Rusal within the next few weeks.

In August 2003, Rusal received US$100mn in a bilateral pre-export finance facility provided by CSFB for a term of five years, at that time the longest term ever offered by Rusal, a world leader in aluminium production was formed in March 2000 from the merger of a number of the largest smelters and other aluminium producers located in the CIS. The company accounts for 75% of Russia’s primary aluminium output and 10% of the global primary aluminium output. Rusal is a fully vertically integrated company with a complete production cycle from bauxite mining and the production of raw materials, to the production of primary metal, semi-products and aluminium-based end products. Rusal is headquartered in Moscow.