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RLPC-TNK-BP seeks $750 mln syndicated loan-bankers

Reuters: RLPC-TNK-BP seeks $750 mln syndicated loan-bankers

Wed Apr 9, 2008 8:13am EDT

LONDON, April 9 (Reuters) – Russian oil firm TNK-BP, half-owned by BP (BP.L: Quote, Profile, Research) is looking to secure a $750 million, three-year syndicated loan for general corporate purposes, banking sources said.

The company’s last loan was a $600 million, 30-month term loan that signed in November 2007. That deal paid a margin of 75 basis points over LIBOR.

A banker said pricing on the new deal is likely to be around 150 bps, reflecting current market conditions. There is also expected to be a large mandated lead arranger (MLA) group to minimise underwriting and market risk and to lessen the amount needed to sell in wider syndication.

“Support for the loan will come from the company’s relationship banks,” a banker said.

TNK-BP, co-owned by BP and a group of Russian billionaires, is subject to long-running speculation that the Kremlin wants the Russian owners to sell it to a state firm to further tighten the state grip on the energy sector.

Gazprom is seen as the most likely buyer of the Russian billionaires’ stake in TNK-BP, although they have repeatedly denied they plan to sell out.

TNK-BP had a net profit of around $5 billion last year, down from $6.6 billion in 2006.

TNK-BP is rated BB+ by Standard and Poor’s, BBB- by Fitch and Baa2 by Moody’s.

(Reporting by Christopher Mangham; editing by Sue Thomas)

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