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VimpelCom Obtains $1.8 Billion Credit Line to Refinance Debt

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April 8 (Bloomberg) -- VimpelCom Ltd., the phone company controlled by Russian billionaire Mikhail Fridman, obtained a $1.8 billion credit line from a group of 11 international banks.

Russia’s third-biggest mobile operator obtained the three-year facility alongside a $500 million loan from OAO Alfa Bank, according to a statement. The revolving credit facility replaces the company’s existing $500 million loan signed in 2011.

VimpelCom arranged the facility after reporting a fourth-quarter net loss of $2.66 billion last month as it wrote down the value of assets in Ukraine and Canada. Sales in Russia, the company’s biggest market, fell 4 percent to 70.7 billion rubles ($2 billion) while earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization dropped 6 percent to 28.5 billion rubles.

“These two new facilities substantially improve the liquidity profile and financial flexibility of the group,” Andrew Davies, VimpelCom’s chief financial officer, said in the statement.

The banks providing the debt are Barclays Plc, BNP Paribas SA, Citigroup Inc., Credit Agricole SA, Credit Suisse Group AG, Deutsche Bank AG, HSBC Holdings Plc, ING Groep NV, Intesa Sanpaolo SpA, Raiffeisen Bank International AG, and Societe Generale SA, it said.

VimpelCom’s Italian subsidiary Wind Telecomunicazioni SpA, which accounts for more than half its debt, is marketing 3.75 billion euros ($5.1 billion) of bonds as part of a refinancing plan that included a 500 million-euro injection of capital from its parent.

To contact the reporter on this story: Stephen Morris in London at smorris39@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Shelley Smith at ssmith118@bloomberg.net Tom Freke, Jennifer Joan Lee

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