Standard Bank Plc has signed lenders into a US$22mn syndicated term loan for Russ-Bank. The facility was oversubscribed by 10% and subsequently increased to US$22mn. It is the debut transaction for this borrower.

The facility has a tenor of 364 days, extendable for a further year at the lenders’ option, and will be used for trade-related finance purposes.

Russ-Bank was established in 1994 (initially as Fintrustbank whose name was changed in 1995 to Russ-Bank). It provides a wide range of corporate and retail banking services, including the provision of loans, auto-loans, mortgage, deposit-taking, and bank card services, securities trading, foreign exchange and precious metals transactions, leasing, correspondent banking, originating guarantees, and trade and project finance.

Russ-Bank is partly owned and controlled by Russia’s largest insurance company Rosgosstrakh (RGS) with total assets in excess of US$2bn and capital of US$538mn as of 31 December 2005. RGS serves around 27 million customers and has more than 80 years of industry experience. RGS enjoys a Russian insurance companies “reliability rating of AA+. Rosgosstrakh, in turn, is 25% plus four shares owned by the Russian government. Hence, the Russian government is, through RGS, an indirect shareholder of the bank.

Since the investment of Rosgosstrakh, Russ-Bank has developed into one of the most rapidly growing banks in Russia (asset growth rate in the 1st half of 2006 is 39.8%) with 14 branches being opened in regional cities and 20 additional offices. It is now a strong regional bank with a well recognised franchise and a wide branch network.

Moody’s Ratings: B2 Long-term, NP Short-term, E+ Financial Strength with positive outlook; Moody’s Interfax Rating Agency: