Sanctions-hit Vekselberg repays 1bn Swiss franc loans to Western banks

ZURICH/MOSCOW: Sanctions-hit Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg (pictured) and his Renova Group have repaid loans amounting to over one billion Swiss francs ($1 billion) to banks including JPMorgan, Credit Suisse and UBS, Renova and a source familiar with the matter said.
Vekselberg was placed under sanctions in a crackdown by the United States on President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle as retaliation for alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US election.
The banks had until June 5 to resolve the issue, when US sanctions come into effect.
“The credit issue with the banks is finally resolved,” the source close to the matter said, adding certain finer details remained under discussion.“The banks have received the money.”
There had been worries over the possibility the loans, which were taken out using large stakes in Swiss industrial groups Schmolz + BickenbachS>, OC Oerlikon and Sulzer as collateral, could lead to a broad selloff of the shares if a solution wasn’t found by June 5.
Were the loans not repaid, the banks could declare an enforcement event allowing them to sell the shares held as collateral.
In the case of a mandatory prepayment event the banks would be allowed to conduct a managed sale.
Liwet Holding, the Swiss investment vehicle of Vekselberg’s Renova Holding, used to invest in the Swiss companies, took out a syndicated loan in December 2017 for 720 million Swiss francs from banks Natixis, Credit Suisse, ING, Deutsche Bank, JP Morgan and UBS, documents from the Swiss Takeover Board show.
Another Swiss-based investment vehicle for Renova, Tiwel Holding, took out a separate 350 million franc credit from the same banks minus UBS in July 2016, according to a separate Takeover Board filing.
Sources, however, placed the size of the repaid credit at 310 million francs. — AFP