Billionaire Akhmetov's DTEK Wins Debt Payment Pause From Court

DTEK Energy BV, controlled by Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov, won some legal breathing room as it seeks to avoid bankruptcy.

Chancellor Terence Etherton in London’s High Court ruled that the energy company may delay interest payments on $910 million of bonds due in 2018 until Oct. 28 as it negotiates a broader overhaul of its capital structure with creditors. A majority of bondholders agreed to the proposal, the company said in a statement on Monday.

Akhmetov, the richest man in Ukraine, also won approval to extend a DTEK bond last year in London as the company struggled to keep up international debt payments amid war, recession and a currency collapse in the former Soviet republic. Metinvest BV, the steel company he controls that’s based in the conflict-torn Eastern Ukraine, is also in talks to restructure debt after defeating dissenting bondholders.

The war hit DTEK and Metinvest’s operations, which depend on coal mines located in the area controlled by Russian-backed separatists. DTEK’s assets in Crimea were expropriated in 2015 following the region’s annexation by Russia, according to a document presented in court.

Without the court ruling, DTEK could have been declared in default after having missed an interest payment on March 28, the company said in a presentation. It will seek to extend bonds and $1.37 billion of bank loans to December 2023, the document showed.

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