Following the improvement in the Russian Federation sovereign rating, Standard & Poor's has raised foreign currency debt rating assigned to Transneft AK OJSC from ?? to ??+. Transneft’s ruble debt rating is affirmed as ??+. The forecast for the ratings is Stable.
“Transneft displays solid operating and financial profile, which is based on the company’s unique business position and favorable, at least so far, tariff level,” noted Standard & Poor's credit analyst Elena Anankina. Transneft ruble debt ratings remain unchanged because of the company’s exposure to political and regulatory risks, all of which do not allow to increase the company’s ruble rating to the investment level.
Standard & Poor's supposes that the economic environment in this country and in its petroleum sector will be a fundamental factor determining Transneft’s rating. The system for Transneft performance regulation as concerns rates, investments, dividends and debt policy is expected to remain favorable in general, though not quite transparent. Even though the debt load may well increase in connection with funding of new investment projects, the rating is based on the assumption that Transneft would maintain its conservative financial policy and steady financial standing so that its aggregate debt would not surpass $ 1 billion, and EBITDA/interest coverage ratio would be expressed by double-digit figures.
Possibilities of rating increase to the investment category are limited in the near future and, in a longer term, will require that regulation should become more transparent and that further analysis of the company’s stability with respect to such stressful scenarios as sovereign crisis or a protracted period of extremely low crude oil prices should be conducted, Standard & Poor's announcement goes.