X5 Retail Group said today (14 December) that it has refinanced a US$1.1bn syndicated loan into rubles to avoid the negative impact of the weakening Russian currency.

The loan, which was due in December next year, has been refinanced by state-controlled Russian bank OAO Sberbank. The new loan agreement is a five-year, ruble-denominated credit line, the retailer said in a statement.

The interest rate has been agreed as 400-650 basis points over the three-month MosPrime rate, depending on the maturity of various tranches, the company added.

"This long-term ruble credit facility further strengthens our financial position and helps us to minimize dollar exposure and improve debt maturity profile. This is good news for X5's shareholders, reducing uncertainty and increasing our flexibility in defining our strategic goals," Evgeny Kornilov, X5 Group CFO, commented.