Rusal, the world’s third largest aluminium producer, has signed the mandate for a US$1.5bn syndicated credit facility.

The mandated lead arrangers are ABN Amro (bookrunner), Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, BNP Paribas (Suisse) (bookrunner), Calyon (bookrunner), Citibank (bookrunner), Natexis Banque Populaires (coordinating lead arranger and documentation agent).

The loan has been provided in two equal amortising tranches, for five and seven years respectively, and will be used to refinance existing debt, which totals US$2.9bn. The syndication is expected to commence early in the second half of 2006.

Oleg Mukhamedshin, deputy financial director, Rusal, says: “This deal sets a new record for a Russian company raising funds on the international markets. The size of the loan and its maturity are unprecedented for Russian metals and mining companies. This demonstrates the growing authority and credibility of Rusal as a global company with the international banking community.”

Rizwan Shaikh, debt market director, Citigroup, adds: “This transaction demonstrates the huge interest in Rusal, which allowed the original amount sought to be increased by 40%. The loan amount and the terms of the transaction demonstrate strong confidence in Rusal from international financial organisations.”

Dominique Fraisse is a senior member of the metals team in the natural resources unit at Natexis in Paris. He says: “Together with the other senior arrangers, we are delighted to have been mandated by RusAl again on this significant transaction – and via Contango, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Natexis Banques Populaires, we are in the unique position of handling the offtake arrangements. This is a tailor-made facility that will assist RusAl in meeting its ambitious plans for expanding production.