The Government of Serbia guarantees loans to Srbijagas worth 200 million euros

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The Serbian government has adopted a law guaranteeing a 200 million euros loan to the Srbijagas public company. The debt that the company should cover arose due to the import of more expensive gas during November, when there was a breakdown on the gas pipeline in Bulgaria, as well as during the December accidents on the electricity system in Serbia.
The import of intervention quantities of natural gas is mostly paid in advance and Srbijagas is not able to provide the necessary funds from current liquidity by supplying the domestic market with natural gas,” the text adds.
The Government of Serbia states that the guarantee is given in favor of Intesa Bank, Raiffeisen Bank, Komercijalna Bank, Sberbank, OTP Bank and Nova Ljubljanska Bank, which were selected in accordance with the criterion of the lowest offered total price.
“In the signed agreements, the withdrawal of loan funds in the amount of up to 200 million euros is conditioned by the entry into force of the law on granting guarantees to the Republic of Serbia,” the statement added.
As explained, the Budget Law for 2022 stipulates that the Government can decide on such a guarantee in order to preserve financial stability, prevent or eliminate the consequences of extraordinary circumstances that may endanger human life or health or cause large-scale damage.
As it is added, that guarantee can be approved in the amount of up to 200 million euros, which means that in the case of Srbijagas, the maximum of that amount was reached.
The government reminds that at the beginning of November, due to the accident on the gas pipeline in Bulgaria, the transport of natural gas to Serbia was interrupted, which is why Srbijagas imported gas from Hungary, in order to ensure safe operation of the system for all consumers.
It is added that during December, Srbijagas also engaged significant funds for gas imports, as well as that all that affected its liquidity because it is a matter of buying natural gas “at significantly higher purchase prices”.
Loan agreements, as it is added, stipulate that loans are approved under the following conditions:
• the interest rate is three-month Euribor (average interest rate at which a group of selected European banks lend money to each other) increased by a fixed margin ranging from 1.35% to 1.82% per annum;
• the loan period is two or three years, including a grace period of three months;
• loan repayment is quarterly;
• the withdrawal of loan funds is in one or more tranches.
Due to extraordinary circumstances, this law will, as specified, enter into force before the eighth day from the day of its publication in the Official Gazette.
In relevant European markets, such as the one in the Netherlands, the price of Russian gas has risen to over 1,300 dollars per 100 cubic meters. Serbia paid 330 dollars for 100 cubic meters of the agreed quantities of Russian gas.
At the end of last year, the Government of Serbia passed a decree on a temporary measure of limiting the price of gas and compensating for the difference in the price of natural gas procured from imports or produced in Serbia in case of disturbances on the natural gas market, Nova Ekonomija reports.

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