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Announcement:

Moody's: CIS miners to benefit from iron-ore recovery, coal outlook mixed

 The document has been translated in other languages

28 Feb 2013

Moscow, February 28, 2013 -- A recovery in iron ore prices and fairly stable domestic demand are likely to drive improvements in the financial performance of iron ore mining companies based in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) this year, says Moody's in its latest report on CIS coal and iron ore mining companies, published today. However, the outlook for CIS thermal and coking coal producers is mixed.

The new report, entitled "Recovery in Iron Ore Prices Is Credit Positive for Producers, But Picture for Coal Is Mixed", is now available on www.moodys.com. Moody's subscribers can access this report via the link provided at the end of this press release.

"While stable demand from domestic electricity generators should help underpin CIS thermal coal producers' margins in 2013, challenges lie ahead for CIS coking coal producers as weak domestic demand and global pricing pressures are likely to constrain margins," says Denis Perevezentsev, a Vice President - Senior Analyst in Moody's Corporate Finance Group and author of the report.

CIS iron ore producers, such as JSC Holding Company METALLLOINVEST (Ba3 positive), Ferrexpo plc (B3 negative) and Eurasian Natural Resources Corporation Plc (ENRC, Ba3 negative), are set to benefit from higher iron ore prices. After hitting a low of about $90/tonne last September, iron ore prices have surged to about $150/tonne since the start of this year, a credit positive development for producers. Although export prices are likely to moderate, Moody's expects them to remain well above CIS producers' production costs even after transportation expenses, potentially leading them to increase exports to China in 2013.

Stable demand for thermal coal within the Russian electric power sector will support issuers' ratings in 2013, but any upside in revenue will be export driven. This is because natural gas, which is widely available in Russia, remains a significantly cheaper source of fuel and this seems unlikely to change soon. Russian producers, such as Coal Company KuzbassRazrezUgol, OJSC (KRU, B2 stable) and Siberian Coal Energy Company, OJSC (SUEK, Ba3 stable), are likely to increase their exports, but stiff competition and higher transportation costs will constrain margins.

Moody's expects 2013 to be another challenging year for Russian coking coal producers amid weak domestic demand and global pricing pressure. However, as Raspadskaya OAO (B1 stable) has low production costs and fairly strong credit metrics relative to its rating category, such an environment will not necessarily result in negative rating actions. Raspadskaya is also ramping up its coking coal output, which could help support its performance in 2013. Mechel OAO (B2 stable) is more vulnerable because it is weakly positioned and its rating or outlook might come under pressure unless its restructuring programme generates results very soon.

Subscribers can access this report via this link http://www.moodys.com/viewresearchdoc.aspx?docid=PBC_151000.

****

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Denis Perevezentsev
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service Limited, Russian Branch
7th floor, Four Winds Plaza
21 1st Tverskaya-Yamskaya St.
Moscow 125047
Russia

Victoria Maisuradze
Associate Managing Director
Corporate Finance Group

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Moody's: CIS miners to benefit from iron-ore recovery, coal outlook mixed
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