Russia’s collateral

An interesting bit from Bloomberg:

When Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev’sOAO National Reserve Bank seized collateral offered against a loan from a cash-strapped borrower, a health quarantine was slapped on the security: 40,450 pigs.

“We had a court decision to take away the collateral, which is the pigs,” Lebedev, 49, said in an interview in Moscow. The borrower, a farm near Samara on the Volga river, agreed “with the local authorities to establish a quarantine” against African swine fever. The former KGB officer is still waiting to collect the pigs offered against a loan of 100 million rubles ($3.5 million). A kilogram of live pig costs an average of 78.4 rubles, the National Meat Association says.

Russian lenders are seeking to recoup losses by accepting a range of collateral, including stakes in Wild Orchid, a lingerie retailer, and food store Mosmart. The banks have been hit by a surge in non-performing loans, which Moody’s Investors Service estimates may rise to 20 percent of the total by year-end. The bad debt threatens to stall bank lending and may jeopardize a recovery in Russia’s economy, which grew 0.6 percent in the third quarter from the second, the Economy Ministry says.

If the rich could use their wealth to expand the businesses, with which they now have control, Russia could be the diversified country they should be.

Source: Bloomberg

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