EBRD board to discuss Ukraine’s grid operator emergency financing


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LONDON — The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) board will next week discuss an emergency loan to provide Ukraine’s grid operator Ukrenergo with liquidity, Matteo Patrone, managing director at the lender, said on Thursday.

Patrone told Reuters in an interview the loan, to be considered on Nov. 21, was “in the hundred of millions of euros” and would help to fund operations and infrastructure.

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Russia has intensified bombing in Ukraine since October and missile attacks have hit energy infrastructure in the regions of Zaporizhzhia and Dnipropetrovsk.

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“We decided to run with an emergency line for the company after meeting the President, the prime minister and Ukrenergo’s CEO,” Patrone said, on the sidelines of the Ukrainian Investment Conference in London.

“Managing to bring it to conclusion within a month is the kind of thing that we need to do,” he added.

The organization has committed to investing up to 3 billion euros ($3.09 billion) in Ukraine over 2022 and 2023 to help the country’s businesses and economy, as the nearly nine-month-old Russian invasion of Ukraine continues.

“The size and the composition of our pipeline changes on a weekly basis,” said Patrone, who has visited Kyiv to meet government officials for talks on future financing.

Patrone said a delay for state energy company Naftogaz on its debt restructuring plan should be resolved by the first quarter of 2023, and that he was “cautiously optimistic” the company and its creditors would reach agreement.

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The company is stuck in default after bondholders of two of its three main international bonds refused to sign up to a debt payment deferral plan offered this year.

He said the EBRD was in contact with the new CEO and there was “a stronger determination” to find a solution.

Oleksiy Chernyshov, the new company’s CEO, said he will boost international investors’ confidence in the company and provide energy security, despite the war with Russia.

The EBRD agreed in June to offer up to 300 million euros in financing to Naftogaz to increase the country’s energy security.

The bank is also working with the government and local authorities on providing “emergency liquidity for operational expenditures” and support to frontline cities, though Patrone did not specify which cities were under discussion. ($1 = 0.9698 euros)

(Reporting by Jorgelina do Rosario and Karin Strohecker; editing by Barbara Lewis)


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