Malaysian billionaire Ananda Krishnan set to settle 1MDB loan ahead of deadline: Sources

Malaysian billionaire Ananda Krishnan, who sold his collection of power plants to 1MDB, has been in talks with 1MDB to become a cornerstone investor in the long-delayed US$3 billion (S$4 billion) listing of its power assets. -- PHOTO: REUTERS
Malaysian billionaire Ananda Krishnan, who sold his collection of power plants to 1MDB, has been in talks with 1MDB to become a cornerstone investor in the long-delayed US$3 billion (S$4 billion) listing of its power assets. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - Malaysian billionaire Ananda Krishnan is preparing to settle a RM2 billion (S$750,900) loan owed by troubled state fund 1MDB, four sources familiar with the matter said - a last-minute reprieve for the fund whose debt woes are pressuring the ringgit and the country's sovereign credit rating.

The development fund, which owns a large portfolio of power plants, has missed payments on the bridge loan that was due end-December, and its lenders were keen to see it paid before they had to write it down in first-quarter earnings, bankers said.

The local media have reported that the final deadline was Feb 18.

Mr Ananda, who sold his collection of power plants to 1MDB, has been in talks with 1MDB to become a cornerstone investor in the long-delayed US$3 billion (S$4 billion) listing of its power assets.

The loan is owed to the country's largest bank, Malayan Banking Bhd, and smaller lender RHB Capital Bhd, and was guaranteed by Ananda's company Usaha Tegas, people with knowledge of the talks said. "The banks already know Ananda is paying and everything is in process," said one of the sources.

The sources declined to be identified as the discussions are private. The banks did not respond to a request for comment. 1MDB declined to comment and Usaha Tegas could not immediately be reached for a comment.

1MDB, whose advisory board is chaired by Prime Minister Najib Razak, has some US$11.6 billion in total debt.