Holland & Barrett loan payment delayed due to Russian sanctions concerns – Reuters

Holland & Barrett loan repayment delayed due to bank concerns over Russian sanctions
// HSBC has delayed repayment of Holland & Barrett’s loan as it seeks regulatory assurances that the retailer, which has links to Russian oligarchs, is not hit with sanctions
// Payment was delayed for two days and meant Holland & Barrett missed their repayment deadline

Holland & Barrett’s loan repayment has been delayed due to concerns from HSBC bank over the healthcare retailer’s ties to Russian oligarchs.

The payment has now been paid but was suspended this week after HSBC refused to process it until it received assurances that LetterOne, the owner of Holland & Barrett’s London-based investment group, n was not subject to sanctions.

HSBC had confirmation that this was the case from the UK and Luxembourg authorities, according to the FT, so made the payment today.

LetterOne is majority owned by Russian oligarchs who have been placed under sanctions, including Mikhail Fridman and Petr Aven, but the bank has been assured that the company itself does not fall under sanctions.

LetterOne had repaid the €415million loan to Holland & Barrett creditors, but the delay meant it had missed the payment deadline.

READ MORE: Directors of Russian oligarch Holland & Barrett quit board over sanctions

The value of Holland & Barrett’s loans has fallen sharply since the FT flagged the problems earlier this week, leading some distressed debt investors to take stakes in hopes they might try to take the control of society.

The confusion highlights the complications in determining which entities are affected by the sanctions against Russian companies.

LetterOne said: “Holland & Barrett and LetterOne have been advised that HSBC, after receiving payment from [euros] interest from Holland & Barrett on March 29, made payment to all lenders on March 31.

“Holland & Barrett is in full compliance with all of its obligations to its lenders.”

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