Rosneft has rubberstamped a plan from its management to offer more long-term corporate bonds to domestic investors, as the Russian state-controlled oil giant continues to struggle with energy demand and weak commodity prices.
The plan will permit Rosneft to raise 800 billion roubles ($10.4 billion) of financing from bonds buyers — routinely large Russian banks, both state controlled and privately owned — for a period of 10 years.
Is it the third such offering since 2014, when US and Europe imposed sanctions on Rosneft in response to Russia's annexation of the Crimea Peninsula from Ukraine that cut off the oil producer from Western financial institutions.
According to estimates, Rosneft has raised over 3 trillion roubles via the sale of rouble-denominated bonds to Russian investors, allowing it to reduce total corporate outstanding debt to Western banks to about $31 billion by 30 June this year.
Rosneft executives said that, as well as being hit by slumping energy demand and oil prices, it had to implement a significant cut to oil production this summer to comply with the Russian government's decision to participate in the Opec+ agreement to help balance the global crude market.
According to industry analysts in Moscow, the offering also allows Rosneft to further reduce its exposure to US and European sanctions that it has been unsuccessfully trying to challenge in international courts.
Technically, the company is no longer majority owned by the government, so potential investors may not rely on state protection or intervention if Rosneft misses repayment deadlines, analysts have warned.
The Russian government’s controlling stake in Rosneft of over 50% fell to 40% in March following a deal in which the oil producer parted with its oil and gas holding in Venezuela in exchange for a 9.6% stake in itself, previously held by the government.
That shareholding — which is held by a Rosneft’s subsidiary and is now under control of the company’s management team led by president Igor Sechin — has since grown to 10.2% as Rosneft has been steadily buying back its shares from the open market despite sliding oil sales revenues.