ZAO Gazprombank, the banking arm of the world’s biggest natural-gas company, received orders for almost double a sale of international ruble bonds, the first by a Russian company.
The Moscow-based lender got 17 billion rubles ($648 million) of orders for the 10 billion-ruble issue, which was capped to ensure demand for the bonds in the secondary market, Gazprombank deputy chairman Alexei Obozintsev said in a telephone interview today. International bond sales in rubles became possible after Russia last July lifted restrictions enabling the currency to be fully convertible.
“This is evidence of ruble convertibility,” said Obozintsev, speaking from Brussels. The three-year bonds have a coupon of 7.25 %, which is 20 basis points lower than the bank’s domestic bond maturing in 2011, Obozintsev said.
28% of investors were Russian, 17 % from the UK, 17 % from the US and 38 % from other Western European countries.German government-owned development agency KfW Group and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development sold the first international bonds in the Russian currency on 12 January.
“We’ve made it simpler for investors to buy top-rated bonds out of Russia in rubles,” said Alex Bogomolov of ABN Amro Holding NV, which together with Barclays Capital managed the Gazprombank sale. “Investors came to get exposure to ruble assets.”International ruble bond sales became possible when the Euroclear and Clearstream clearing systems began accepting transactions in the currency this year.