By Natalia Zinets
KIEV (Reuters) - Ukraine's state oil firm Naftogaz has paid a delayed $21.7 million coupon to bondholders after its first payment was frozen by a London court, the finance ministry said on Wednesday, narrowly averting a potentially damaging debt default.
The company whose bond, fully guaranteed by the Ukrainian government as part of an older 2009 debt restructuring, had until Oct 10 to make the payment that was originally due on September 30 and was part of a $75.8 million bond coupon.
Failure to pay within the 10-day grace period could have triggered so-called cross default, not only on Naftogaz's entire outstanding debt but eventually on billions of dollars of Ukrainian sovereign bonds, potentially a catastrophe for a country that is already facing deep financial stress.
Ukraine's finance ministry said it had repeated the payment which had been frozen by a London court on behalf of a third-party creditor.
"Naftogaz's paying agent last night carried out full settlement of the coupon payment in favour of the eurobondholders," Galina Pakhachuk, head of the ministry's debt department, told Reuters.
"The bondholders received the whole sum of the coupon payment," she added.
Market sources in London confirmed that bondholders had received the payment.
The bond which matures next September, rose more than half a point on the news, with yields falling to 16.4 percent, slipping from the previous session's record high of 17.2 percent.(Additional reporting and writing by Sujata Rao and Richard Balmforth; editing by Mike Collett-White)