June 14, 2018 / 3:13 PM / 10 months ago

Swiss steelmaker launches bond after chairman cuts Vekselberg ties

ZURICH, June 14 (Reuters) - Swiss steelmaker Schmolz & Bickenbach announced a 150 million euro ($174.62 million) bond issue on Thursday, two months after its chairman severed ties to Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg to help clear the way for the debt deal.

The Swiss company, in which Vekselberg has a large stake, plans to use proceeds to repay outstanding debt used to pay for its acquisition of France's Asco Industries, it said in a statement.

Vekselberg and his Renova Group investment company were among wealthy Russians placed under U.S. sanctions on April 6 to punish Moscow for suspected meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and other alleged "malign activity".

In April Schmolz Chairman Edwin Eichler terminated his contract to represent Renova's interests on the board of the steel company. Financial institutions had demanded Eichler’s move as a condition of underwriting a forthcoming bond placement, a Renova spokesman said at the time.

Schmolz & Bickenbach agreed in January to buy Asco and used part of a 375 million euro revolving credit facility for the transaction.

The 5.625 percent senior secured notes are being offered with a 2022 maturity date. ($1 = 0.8590 euros) (Reporting by John Miller Editing by David Goodman)

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