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GAZ Group Completes Debt Restructuring

Indebted carmaker GAZ Group finished restructuring its 39.2 billion ruble ($1.3 billion) debt, the company said in a statement Monday.

"The company signed credit agreements with banks for five years with a two-year postponement of payment of the main debt [and] a six-month postponement of interest payment. The agent and the organizer of the syndicate of creditor banks is Sberbank. The documentation agent is Raiffeisenbank," the statement said.

The company raised 20 billion rubles in guarantees last month, which will provide for 50 percent of the loan, while the remaining part of the debt will be guaranteed by the 16.2 percent of GAZ shares that will be held as collateral by the syndicate of 22 banks. The loan will have an interest rate of 4 percent above the Central Bank's refinancing rate, which is currently set at 8.5 percent.

GAZ Group reached a deal with a syndicate of 21 foreign and Russian banks last September to extend the loan periods, but Alfa Bank, one of the creditors, delayed the final agreement, demanding that Basic Element, Deripaska's holding company and the main shareholder of Russian Machines, pay off its debt in full. Russian Machines refinanced its debt to Alfa Bank, borrowing 5.3 billion rubles from state-owned VTB last month.

As part of the restructuring deal, Sberbank may get a seat on GAZ's board of directors, Russian Machines CEO Valery Lukin said.

Oleg Deripaska's companies restructured almost $20 billion of debt in 2009, including $17 billion debt of RusAl, the world's biggest aluminum producer.

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