SAINT PETERSBURG – OAO Sovcomflot (SCF Group) announced on Friday that Citigroup and Bank of America Merrill Lynch signed a USD $140 million, 7 year loan agreement to finance the construction of two VLCC-tankers. The vessels are currently under construction with delivery scheduled in 2013. They will operate on long-term charter agreements with PetroChina International (a subsidiary of China National Petroleum Corporation CNPC), one of the world’s leading oil & gas corporations.
Sergey Frank, Sovcomflot President & CEO, said: “We are very pleased to welcome Citi and Bank of America Merrill Lynch to join the core group of Sovcomflot’s lenders. This is the first time Sovcomflot has established a long-term relationship with two such prominent global financial institutions. I hope that this transaction demonstrates that SCF Group has continued access to debt capital to finance its investment needs throughout the shipping cycle. We look forward to further developing our partnership with Citi and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. SCF Group has a long history in the international financial markets and has been raising funds from international banks since the late 1980’s. We are grateful to our financial partners for their ongoing support for the growth of our business. ”
Vikram Pandit, CEO, Citigroup, said: “Citi has been enabling progress for its clients for nearly 200 years, and for the last 20 years in Russia. Since financing of the first supertanker in 1948, Citi has placed a high priority on supporting major transportation projects. Today Sovcomflot is one of the world’s leading shipping companies, and we are pleased to be a partner in this benchmark deal. Cooperation between such major international corporations creates additional opportunities for the development of this sector and will help strengthen SovÃ±omflot’s business ties with world financial institutions.”
Roman Zilber, head of Corporate Banking for Russia at Bank of America Merrill Lynch added: “Russia is a strategic focus for Bank of America Merrill Lynch and we have seen encouraging signs of our firm’s strength and capabilities through recent deals such as this. Such successes are a result of strong client relationships coupled with specialised expertise. We look forward to further opportunities to support SCF and our other Russian clients, providing the very best global infrastructure with the benefit of local, in-country expertise.”