17 Mar 2022 15:00

Backbone enterprises can borrow up to 10 bln rubles on preferential terms, groups 30 bln rubles - PM

MOSCOW. March 17 (Interfax) - The Russian government has approved the provision of preferential loans to backbone enterprises, where an individual enterprise can borrow up to 10 billion rubles for a year and a group of enterprises 30 billion rubles.

"A special credit program has been developed to top up working capital. These are funds that companies need for their core activities, including to buy raw materials and pay wages," Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said at a cabinet meeting.

"An enterprise will be able to receive up to 10 billion rubles for one year, and up to 30 billion rubles for a group of companies," he said.

The government said in a statement that the main condition for obtaining soft loans for working capital would be to safeguard at least 85% of jobs.

Mishustin said preferential loans for backbone enterprises were recently discussed at a meeting of the commission on improving the sustainability of the Russian economy. He said at the commission's meeting last Friday that the government had drafted proposals to subsidize lending rates for systemically important enterprises to receive loans to replenish working capital at 10%.

He said on March 17 that it might be possible to restructure loans with a floating rate. That opportunity would be available to "representatives of large businesses, small and medium enterprises, as well as citizens, with the exception of mortgage loans, on which we are working separately."

"Each category of borrower has its own procedure for restructuring and servicing loan debt, including both the duration of the grace period and the dynamics of interest rates," he said.

Mishustin said many had raised loans at floating rates even amid moderate inflation. "Now they are in a difficult situation, facing a shortage of liquidity and at the same time a significant increase in debt servicing costs, which creates risks not only for themselves, but also for the economy as a whole," he said.

"We will make a number of changes to the legislation to support such borrowers. They will make it possible to restructure debt and ease payments at a time when commodity and logistics chains are being reconfigured in parallel," he said.

The government press office said Mishustin had signed a resolution according to which backbone enterprises would be able to obtain preferential loans from Russian banks for up to 12 months at 11% interest.

Mishustin said last week that the loans would be available at 10%, but the government has adjusted this slightly.

The resolution caps such loans at 10 billion rubles for individual backbone enterprises and 30 billion rubles for groups of entities.

Mishustin said at the cabinet meeting that 40 billion rubles would be allocated for the program.

The Industry and Trade Ministry's press office said the ministry "will be able to compensate banks for a shortfall of income equivalent to 12% of the loan rate.

Industrial and trade enterprises will be able to take advantage of the preferential loans. A similar program will apply to the agro-industrial complex, where loans will be capped at 5 billion rubles for a year at 10% interest.

Earlier, the government decided to resume targeted support to backbone organizations, which existed in 2020 as an anti-crisis measure. "We are talking, in particular, about state guarantees for restructuring loans or obtaining new ones, as well as subsidies for cost reimbursement," the government press office said.

To simplify access to the program, potential participants are permitted not to undergo stress tests, which have been excluded from the list of mandatory requirements.

The government also said that based on the results of the presidium of the government commission on improving the sustainability of the Russian economy, the Industry and Trade, Agriculture, Transport, Energy, Construction and Digital Development ministries, together with the Federal Tax Service, were instructed to finalize sectoral lists of backbone organizations.

The Economic Development Ministry is due to submit the updated list to the government by March 22.