In Aug 2010, when a dollar fetched 30 roubles, oil prices were on the rise, and Russia was in high favor with investors, Gazprombank went to global bond markets to borrow $1 billion.
Now as the debt comes up for repayment, Gazprombank , like many of its Russian peers, is shut out of global capital markets by Western sanctions imposed over Moscow's role in the Ukraine crisis. Oil, mainstay of the Russian economy, has fallen to $84 per barrel and the rouble is down 25 percent this year to 45 per dollar.
Gazprombank is only one of many Russian companies - private and state-owned - which together have racked up $650 billion in hard currency debt and have seen debt servicing costs spiral in dollar terms as the rouble has plunged.
Around $135 billion falls due over the coming year, the following graphic based on central bank data shows:
How worried should investors be?
Russia makes up 16 percent of the main emerging corporate debt index, the CEMBI, and comprises almost a tenth of what all emerging market companies owe next year, according to data from BNP Paribas. Russian firms' scramble for dollars is widely blamed for the rouble's recent collapse, overriding the central bank's $30 billion in interventions last month.
On the other hand, most Russian companies are commodity exporters and, thus, will have dollar revenues. Most also have enough cash to see them through the coming year, analysts following the sector generally believe.
"When you operate in Russia, generate rouble revenues and are indebted in hard currency, ceteris paribus (all other things being equal) your debt costs go up. That said, companies with revenues in dollars are less impacted," said Michael Ganske, head of emerging debt at Rogge Global Partners, which manages $57 billion.
"But even if you disregard the rouble effect, the risk premium on Russian companies is on the rise," he said, referring to the premium investors demand over U.S. Treasuries to hold Russian assets. He also said the rise in short-dated yields on Russian corporate bonds was a sign of stress.
"You are seeing elevated risk premium, a fractional increase in the default probability," he added.
Russian companies' average yield spread over Treasuries has widened by 215 basis points this year, while the underlying CEMBI index has barely changed, JPMorgan data shows.