Russia's largest retailer X5 Retail has been granted a RUB7bn (US$256m) credit line by state lender VTB Group, the company confirmed today (14 November).

The credit line, part of the assistance Russia's government is extending to retailers, has an 18-month term, the company said.

A spokesperson declined to specify what the funds would be use for. However, industry watchers have suggested that it will refinance short-term debt.

X5 had accumulated $2.3bn in debt at the end of the half, of which $713m was short-term debt. The loans had been used to fund X5's rapid expansion.

Other Russian retailers, including Magnit and Seventh Continent, have also been granted funding by VTB, which said it would lend RUB18bn to help grocery retailers refinance debt last month.