Monday, December 22, 2008

Russian Oligarchs Seek Loans

Naomi and her personal oligarch of love Vladislav Doronin via thisislondon)

It's hard out there for an oligarch (pimps too, but oligarchs are far more intriguing character studies in Evil). How, we ask, is your average Slavic financial despot supposed to wine and dine Naomi Campbell in these economic times? "Presents" make Naomi less punchy!

And British football clubs don't grow on trees. Who is going to buy all that shitty contemporary "art"? Bloomberg's scoop:

"Russian oligarchs are lining up for $78 billion of Kremlin loans to survive the credit squeeze, handing Prime Minister Vladimir Putin the opportunity to increase government control of the nation’s biggest companies.

"Just 12 years after they gained ownership of the former Soviet Union’s industries by bailing out the government, the tables have been turned. More than 100 business leaders are vying for loans from Putin and the administration of President Dmitry Medvedev because Russian companies have about $110 billion of foreign obligations due next year, according to the central bank, double the total owed in Brazil, India and China.

"Business leaders who tripled international debt in the past three years are putting up part of their stock as collateral for government support because they’ve been hobbled by tumbling commodity prices and the biggest drop in the ruble since Russia’s default in 1998. Putin already is aiding billionaires Roman Abramovich and Oleg Deripaska and considering requests from Dmitry Pumpyansky of pipemaker OAO TMK, OAO Severstal’s Alexei Mordashov and AFK Sistema’s Vladimir Yevtushenkov.

"'Some of them will definitely lose their property, either to the state or to investors,' billionaire Alexander Lebedev, 49, said in a Dec. 8 interview, 11 days before Deutsche Bank AG demanded early repayment of a loan guaranteed by 3 percent of Moscow-based ZAO National Reserve Corp.’s 29 percent stake in OAO Aeroflot, the national airline. 'They’ve been over- borrowing and sales of their companies have been falling.'"

It seems like Russia's little war with Georgia, in retrospect, was a bad idea. Good for internal pride and local color; bad for investors, who have pulled hundreds of billions from the Russian stock market in the intervening months. More of Bloomberg's scoop here.

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