Gazprom is considering issuing bonds in Asian currencies and is “ready in principle” to receive payment from China in renminbi, in the latest evidence of a shift away from the dollar by Russian companies.
Andrei Kruglov, Gazprom’s chief financial officer, said the move would help the Russian state-controlled gas giant attract more Asian investors and “diversify its sources of funding”.
“We are looking at the possibility of raising debt capital on the Asian market through the issuance of bonds in offshore renminbi, CNH, and maybe in Singapore dollars,” he said yesterday.
Gazprom was also in discussions to list shares in Hong Kong, he said, and may do so this year. The company, whose main listing is in Moscow, last week listed its American Depository Receipts in Singapore.
The moves highlight how Russian companies are attempting to implement the Kremlin’s “pivot to Asia” as relations with Europe become strained.
Gazprom last month signed a $400bn gas supply deal with CNPC of China, the largest contract in its history, at the same time as European governments discussed ways to reduce their dependence on its gas.
Mr Kruglov declined to say whether Gazprom had agreed to settle the Chinese contract in a currency other than dollars.
“As for settlements in renminbi or roubles, we are ready for this and we think it’s quite normal,” he said. He said such a move would create no additional risks for the company apart from “maybe some small transaction costs”.
The company earlier told the Financial Times that a $25bn advance payment agreed as part of the deal would be made in dollars.
Russian companies have stepped up talks on settling contracts and raising debt in currencies other than dollars, bankers earlier told the FT, amid fears that western sanctions might freeze them out of the US dollar market.
Alexander Dyukov, chief executive of Gazprom’s oil division, has said that the company has discussed with its customers the possibility of shifting contracts to euros, while Norilsk Nickel told the FT that it was discussing denominating long-term contracts with Chinese consumers in renminbi.
US and European banks have dramatically slowed their lending activity in Russia since the annexation of Crimea in March. While there have been signs that the markets are reopening, Russian companies are returning to the market to borrow in euros rather than dollars.
Sberbank this week raised a ￠1bn bond, following a smaller issuance by Alfa-Bank. Gazprombank is also in talks to sell a euro-denominated bond.
Gazprom石油部门首席执行官亚历山大?久科夫(Alexander Dyukov)表示，该公司已经与客户讨论用欧元结算合同的可能性，同时诺里尔斯克镍业公司(Norilsk Nickel)向英国《金融时报》表示，正与中国客户讨论用人民币订立长期合同。