Lukoil’s plan to identity bondholders raises questions
Russian oil producer starts bondholder identification process after departure of sanctioned co-founder
Russia’s second-biggest oil producer is looking to identify its creditors as the group attempts to pick its way through the complex web of new rules governing its interactions with foreign bondholders after the departure of its sanctioned co-founder.
Lukoil is asking investors of its foreign-denominated bonds to disclose their identity and how much they hold, according to informed sources who spoke on condition of anonymity.
While the company itself has not been targeted by sanctions, its co-founder and former president Vagit Alekperov stepped down from the role last month, after he was sanctioned by the EU and UK. Meanwhile, Lukoil has kept up with its debt obligations, paying four coupons on bonds over the past 10 days. Its next payment is due on May 6.
An identification process is usually undertaken by an issuer ahead of a planned transaction, such as consent solicitations or tender and exchange offers, and, in the most stressed of cases, debt restructurings. It is not clear why Lukoil would carry out a bondholder identification process now.
A representative for Lukoil replied to requests for comment about its bonds by referencing a statement about its shares. The company did not immediately respond to follow-up requests for bond-related information.
Russian companies have faced huge uncertainties over foreign payments following international sanctions on both individuals and entities. The penalties have led to wide-ranging implications for Russian corporates, from reshufflings in shareholder structures and management, to blockages along the financial plumbing system preventing debt payments from trickling through to investors.
The bondholder identification process is run by capital markets intelligence firm CMi2i. Creditors are being asked to disclose their funds’ names, holdings, contact details and countries of residence.
A representative for CMi2i declined to comment.
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