Russian Billionaire Seeks Bank Payment Delays
Formerly Russia's richest man, Oleg Deripaska, shown above with Vladimir Putin, is now a billionaire in need of a little help. The St. Petersburg Times reports that Deripaska is asking banks to freeze loans that are set to come due for his company, aluminum producer RusAl. The company currently owes about $7 billion to foreign banks out of a total $16.3 billion of debt. The price of aluminum has continued to drop since last year and global stockpiles are high. The article quotes Deripaska as saying that he knows he can no longer get additional money from foreign banks and that Russia's government won't be able to supply much aid since it is consumed with social issues. He has asked for the government to help stimulate demand for aluminum and help producers compete on price because he feels that rivals are taking advantage during the crisis.
It's been quite a wild ride for Deripaska lately. He slipped onto our radar last August with the rumors that he might be interested in buying Hummer from GM. My colleague Jared Paul Stern also reported that Deripaska had paid singer Rhianna $500,000 for a private 40 minute performance for his friends on New Year's Eve 2007. Deripaska lost more than $35 billion over the past year and is now Russia's eighth richest man. His company, RusAl held on to a 25 percent stake in Norilsk Nickel after a $4.5 billion bailout loan from state development bank VEB but the stake's market value has fallen to about $2.1 billion down from $13 billion when RusAl bought the stock in April.
[via Wealth Bulletin]