Mizuho, SMBC in talks to provide 800 million euros in loans to Gazprom: sources

Mon Dec 5, 2016 3:10am EST
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By Taro Fuse and Taiga Uranaka

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Mizuho Bank Ltd [MZFGAE.UL] and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp [SUMFGI.UL] are working on a deal to provide 800 million euros ($845 million) in loans to Russian gas giant Gazprom (GAZP.MM: Quote), people familiar with the matter said on Monday, less than two weeks before Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The banks are in talks to finalize the deal during Putin's visit to Japan on Dec. 15-16 for discussions on a decades-old territorial row and economic cooperation, said the people, who were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N: Quote) is also likely to participate in the deal, the people said.

Mizuho and SMBC officials did not immediately comment when contacted by Reuters. JPMorgan Chase officials in Tokyo referred enquiries to their New York office, which was closed outside of U.S. business hours. Gazprom officials were not immediately available to comment.

SMBC is also working on providing financing for Russia's Alfa-Bank with state-run Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) [JBIC.UL] and Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI), the people said.

JBIC declined to comment. Alfa-Bank and NEXI officials were not immediately available to comment.

Mizuho Bank is the core unit of Mizuho Financial Group Inc (8411.T: Quote) and SMBC is a unit of Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc (8316.T: Quote).

Last month, JBIC said it was set to provide a 200 million euro loan to the Yamal liquefied natural gas (LNG) project in Russia led by Novatek (NVTK.MM: Quote). SMBC is also working on the deal, the people said.   Continued...

A general view shows the headquarters of Gazprom in Moscow, Russia, June 30, 2016. REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov/File Photo