Russian metals giant Norilsk Nickel has mandated Citibank and Societe General to arrange a five-year pre-export loan up to $1.5 billion, the company said on Friday.

Earlier, Interfax news agency said the loan was secured to support a buyback programme of its shares.

The Facility will be used to finance general corporate purposes, Norilsk said in a statement.

Norilsk's board approved on Sept. 13 a buyback of 7.7 percent of its shares at $306 each, a total of $4.5 billion.

The offer came after the board of the world's biggest aluminium producer, UC RUSAL, rejected an offer for its Norilsk shares, also at $306 each.

Last month, banking sources told Reuters that Norilsk Nickel was in talks with banks for a loan of up to $3.5 billion to buy back shares, potentially marking its first international syndicated loan since 2008.

Three years ago, Norilsk signed a $1.5 billion, three-year syndicated loan that was arranged and underwritten by Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Bayerische Hypo- und Vereinsbank, Calyon, ING, RBS, Societe Generale, Sumitomo Mitsui Finance Dublin, UniCredit HVB and WestLB