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Announcement:

Moody's: Russian businesses unlikely to feel full credit impact of WTO membership until 2016

20 Aug 2013

London, 20 August 2013 -- It will likely take three to five years for the full credit impact of Russia's entry into the World Trade Organization (WTO) to be felt by domestic businesses, says Moody's Investors Service in a Special Comment published today.

The study, entitled "Russian Non-Financial Corporates: Full Credit Impact of WTO Entry on Russian Businesses Will Take Longer to be Felt", 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.

"We had expected there to be more clear-cut winners and losers one year after Russia joined WTO, however, most businesses have experienced little or no change in their creditworthiness so far," says Sergei Grishunin, an Assistant Vice President - Analyst in Moody's Corporate Finance Group and author of the report. "Although the credit profiles of food and non-food wholesalers and retailers have received a boost, the benefits to exporters have failed to materialise, owing to the loss of momentum in the global economic recovery. Meanwhile, measures introduced by the Russian government to support certain less competitive industries, such as the automotive sector, have reduced the credit negative implications of WTO membership."

Import-oriented businesses, such as food and non-food wholesalers and retailers, will continue to benefit financially. Import duties on many consumer goods, including pork, butter and clothing, will continue to be reduced until 2017, with credit positive implications for retailers and wholesalers as we would expect them to pass on only a small portion of the tariff savings to end-consumers. Large retail companies, such as X5 Retail Group NV (B2 stable), OAO Magnit (unrated), and Russian-based branches or distributors of goods for global retail companies, such as H&M (unrated) and Zara (unrated), are also likely to benefit from cost savings associated with simplified customs procedures and lower transportation tariffs for foreign goods.

Opportunities for exporters are likely to hinge on the pace of the global economic recovery. The credit impact on metals, mining and chemical companies has been largely credit neutral so far. This is because these companies have yet to benefit from the removal or reduction of import tariffs by other WTO members as the loss of momentum in the global economic recovery, and the prolonged weakness in European economy in particular, have dampened demand for these commodities. Still, Moody's would expect companies such as OAO Severstal (Ba1 stable) or OJSC Phosagro (Baa3 stable) to capitalise on export opportunities once the global economy regains momentum.

While textile, clothing and shoe manufacturers have been hit hard, the credit profiles of protein companies and automotive producers have suffered less than Moody's expected as measures introduced by the Russian government have largely shielded them from a flood of cheap imports. Consequently, big agricultural producers, such as OJSC Cherkizovo Group (B2 stable), ABH Miratorg (unrated), and larger car and truck manufacturers, such as OJSC KAMAZ (unrated), GAZ Group (unrated) and OAO AvtoVAZ (unrated), have fared better than the rating agency expected. However, it is unclear whether some of these measures, such as the recycling fees levied on foreign vehicle imports, will be sustainable in the long term. The EU, for example, recently filed a complaint against Russia with the WTO challenging the recycling fees.

In addition, Moody's notes that executives at Russian companies still seem to have a low level of understanding of how WTO membership affects their businesses and there appears to be a dearth of domestic legal firms specialising in this area that they can turn to for advice, which is prompting them to use foreign specialists instead which can be costly.

Subscribers can access this report via this link: https://www.moodys.com/research/Russian-Non-Financial-Corporates-Full-Credit-Impact-of-WTO-Entry--PBC_157458

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS ONLY: For more information, please call one of our global press information hotlines: London +44-20-7772-5456, New York +1-212-553-0376, Tokyo +813-5408-4110, Hong Kong +852-3758-1350, Sydney +61-2-9270-8141, Mexico City 001-888-779-5833, São Paulo 0800-891-2518, or Buenos Aires 0800-666-3506. You can also email us at mediarelations@moodys.com or visit our web site at www.moodys.com

Sergei Grishunin
Asst Vice President - Analyst
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Interfax Rating Agency
7th floor, Four Winds Plaza
21 1st Tverskaya-Yamskaya St.
Moscow 125047
Russia
Telephone: +7 495 228 6060
Facsimile: +7 495 228 6091

David Staples
MD - Corporate Finance
Corporate Finance Group
Telephone: 00971 4237 9536

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Moody's: Russian businesses unlikely to feel full credit impact of WTO membership until 2016
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