Sberbank and the state satellite company Cosmic Svyaz signed three credit agreements in the amount of USD 160 million to continue financing a project of modernization of a Russian orbiting satellite group, according to the Sberbank press service.
The project which is valued at approximately USD 800 million provides for the production and launch of six modern telecommunications satellites, the last of which will be launched in 2005. The project is being financed by credits from Sberbank, Cosmic Svyaz, trade credits from foreign equipment suppliers and the government budget.
Since the project's inception in 2001, Sberbank opened a credit line of USD 390 million for Cosmic Svyaz, of which USD 248 million has already been spent. With the help of the credits, Cosmic Svyaz was able to produce and launce the first of the six satellites - Express-A1R - which was successfully launched into orbit on 10 June 2002. Moreover, production has also begun on the five remaining Express-AM satellites. The second satellite - Express-AM22 is planned for launch in December 2003. The new credit line will be used to cover the costs connected with the production and launch of satellites in 2003-2004.