Russia’s Largest Shipping Company Selling Ships to Repay Loans: WSJ

  • Sovcomflot is promoting ships to patrons in Asia and the Middle East to repay loans to western banks.
  • Per the WSJ, the offers come forward of a Sunday deadline for EU firms to cease enterprise with Russia.
  • As Russia’s largest transport firm, it operates 122 ships, together with oil tankers and fuel carriers.

Russia’s main transport firm has offered ships to patrons in Asia and the Middle East to repay its loans to Western banks. 

The Wall Street Journal and Lloyd’s List first reported the story.

Sovcomflot offered 5 tankers to Dubai-based Koban Shipping and 4 natural-gas carriers to Singapore-based Eastern Pacific Shipping, per the report. 

The transfer comes as the corporate tries to adjust to sanctions imposed by the European Union, which has set a Sunday deadline for firms to stop enterprise with Russia.

The deadline means banks might want to obtain all excellent loans earlier than that date. Sovcomflot’s publicity, per the most recent knowledge, was as excessive as $2.1 billion of debt, in response to Lloyd’s List. 

However, the journal additionally reported that Chinese patrons are additionally reportedly recognized to be desirous about buying vessels and are in negotiations.

Sovcomflot didn’t instantly reply to Insider’s request for remark made exterior regular working hours.

On April 25, the corporate introduced in a launch that it was dedicated to repaying its Eurobond. The firm included its two excellent Eurobond points, totaling $928m, with maturities in 2023 and 2028. 

Eastern Pacific, which purchased natural-gas carriers, paid $700 million to a financial institution that took possession of the ships, per the WSJ.

Maritime intelligence journal Lloyd’s List earlier reported the corporate was trying to promote as a lot as a third of its fleet

A senior banker regarded as concerned within the negotiations with Sovcomflot informed the journal: “Basically, all banks and charterers have until May 15 to actually terminate the contracts, which means Sovcomflot has a very short window to pay back the loans, and realistically there is only one way it can do that and that is to sell the ships.”

Per the journal, a senior business official with direct information of the offers stated that 40 of the Sovcomflot’s complete fleet are being mentioned with patrons from Dubai and China. 

A senior banker informed Lloyd’s List: “Paying back loans before the deadline is clearly the immediate trigger behind the fleet sale, and it seems clear that Sovcomflot is preparing for an eventual future return to the market.”

They added: “But there is also likely a calculation here as to how many ships it is going to need to trade within the sanctions regime for the foreseeable future.”

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