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Serbian Gas Monopoly Seeks to Tap 7 Banks for Liquidity Boost

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Oct. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Srbijagas JP, Serbia’s natural gas monopoly, seeks to borrow 190 million euros ($247.6 million) worth of sovereign-backed loans from seven banks.

The aid for the liquidity-stricken Srbijagas needs parliamentary approval. The company wants to borrow 50 million euros from the London-based Deutsche Bank AG and 20 million euros from Amsterdam Trade Bank NV, according to a draft bill the government submitted to lawmakers today.

The Belgrade-based Volksbank AD would provide 70 million euros, Serbian units of Hungary’s OTP Bank PLC, Societe Generale SA and UniCredit SpA 10 million euros each, and Vojvodjanska Banka AD, member of Greece’s National Bank of Greece SA, would lend 20 million euros.

The new loan needs to be cleared by parliament’s finance committee before lawmakers take it up for a vote. The government, which fully owns Srbijagas, asked parliament to back sovereign guarantees for the seven loans, as Srbijagas traditionally increases imports in the last quarter of the year.

Srbijagas owed more than 60 billion dinars to banks at the end of 2011, of which two thirds were already long-term loans. The new, five-year loans come with a one-year grace period and quarterly debt repayments. The cost of new borrowing ranges from 5.98 percent and 7.25 percent on top of a three-month Euribor.

To contact the reporter on this story: Gordana Filipovic in Belgrade at gfilipovic@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: James M. Gomez at jagomez@bloomberg.net

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