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Rating Action:

Moody's affirms A1 ratings of PETRONAS; outlook stable

16 May 2013

Singapore, May 16, 2013 -- Moody's Investors Service has affirmed the A1 issuer rating and senior unsecured rating of Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS).

Moody's has also affirmed the A1 senior unsecured ratings of PETRONAS Global Sukuk Limited and PETRONAS Capital Limited.

The ratings outlook is stable.

RATINGS RATIONALE

"The A1 issuer rating of PETRONAS reflects its substantial cash generation, conservative financial profile, strong liquidity and financial flexibility even after considering its recent acquisitions and a large capex program of MYR300 billion to be implemented over the next five years," says Simon Wong, a Moody's Vice President and Senior Analyst.

In addition to further investments in Progress Energy's shale gas assets in Canada, the capex program will also be used to fund the company's key initiatives including: (1) Refinery and Petrochemicals Integrated Development (RAPID) focusing on specialty chemicals targeted for completion in 2016; and (2) Gladstone Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) processing trains with a capacity of 7.8 million tonnes per annum, with a first LNG delivery date targeted for 2015. PETRONAS also made its first foray into Brazil with the recent acquisition of offshore blocks in Brazil's Campos basin for USD850 million.

Moody's expects the overall credit metrics of PETRONAS to remain strong over the next 12-18 months with adjusted debt-to-EBITDA below 1.0x and adjusted debt-to-capitalization below 20%, which is in line with its higher rated international peers.

"Furthermore, we expect the company to closely manage and diversify its exposure to geopolitical risks as the proportion of oil & gas production from its international portfolio, especially from South Sudan and Iraq, will rise over the next few years," adds Wong, who is also Moody's lead analyst for PETRONAS.

Production from its international portfolio was 14.4% of its total oil & gas entitlement for the fiscal year ended 31 December 2012.

Moody's expects the proportion to increase in 2013 and 2014 with the resumption of production in South Sudan and production ramp ups in Iraq.

In 2012, net profits at PETRONAS declined 14% to MYR59 billion (USD19 billion) owing to lost production of 120,000 barrels per day in South Sudan, which was a result of a disagreement over oil pipeline charges paid to its northern neighbor Sudan as well as an impairment charge taken on its gas assets in Egypt.

Nevertheless, the company's production, excluding Sudan, increased 3% in 2012 year-on-year.

"PETRONAS' strategy of partnering with leading oil and gas companies in its investments abroad as well as its growing track record of managing its international portfolio provides us with some reassurance," says Wong.

Furthermore, Pacific Northwest LNG plant which is scheduled to be online by 2018 is expected to provide diversification to its international portfolio.

Under Moody's Joint Default Analysis approach, the likelihood of support from the Malaysian government (A3 stable) is very high, given the national importance of PETRONAS and its strategic role in the country's economic development.

However, in spite of such strong support, there is little impact on its final A1 rating, which mostly reflects the company's standalone credit strength.

However, the rating incorporates Moody's assessment of the very high inter-dependence between the government and PETRONAS, as the company contributes to more than 30% of the total federal government's revenue.

"The outcome of the recent Malaysian government elections has preserved the status of PETRONAS as the dominant oil and gas company in Malaysia. However, there are still uncertainties regarding the company's dividend policy which is subject to annual negotiations with the government," says Wong.

The proposed dividend for FY2012 was reduced to MYR27 billion compared to a flat MYR30 billion that was paid annually from FY2009 to FY2011.

The ratings of PETRONAS are also underpinned by its (1) high degree of operating integration; (2) profitable domestic production sharing contracts, given its status as Malaysia's national oil company; (3) large-scale hydrocarbon reserves; and (4) revenue stability from substantial gas reserves.

Constraining the ratings are (1) the company's geographical concentration of oil and gas reserves within Malaysia; (2) its small-scale downstream operations compared to its similarly rated international oil majors; and (3) its high business risks from operating in politically less stable countries.

The stable outlook reflects Moody's expectation that PETRONAS will maintain its strong credit protection measures over the next 12-24 months.

The possibility of a rating upgrade is limited, given the high inter-dependence between the government and the firm, as well as the implementation risks related to the company's overseas acquisitions.

In addition, an upgrade to Malaysia's sovereign rating will not necessarily lead to an upgrade of PETRONAS' rating.

Downward rating pressure could arise if PETRONAS faces significant setbacks in developing its new investments.

Moreover, a weakening of its financial and liquidity profiles as a result of substantial debt funding for its existing investments, or material acquisitions leading to a gross adjusted debt-to-total capitalization ratio above 35%-40%, could also pressure the rating.

The principal methodology used in these ratings was the Global Integrated Oil & Gas Industry Methodology published in November 2009. Please see the Credit Policy page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

Petroliam Nasional Berhad (PETRONAS) is a 100% Malaysian government-owned oil and gas company, with operations spanning upstream oil and gas exploration and production, downstream oil refining, marketing and distribution of petroleum products, as well as trading in oil, petroleum and petrochemicals products.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

For any affected securities or rated entities receiving direct credit support from the primary entity(ies) of this rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this rating action, the associated regulatory disclosures will be those of the guarantor entity. Exceptions to this approach exist for the following disclosures, if applicable to jurisdiction: Ancillary Services, Disclosure to rated entity, Disclosure from rated entity.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

Simon Wong
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service Singapore Pte. Ltd.
50 Raffles Place #23-06
Singapore Land Tower
Singapore 48623
Singapore
JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350
SUBSCRIBERS: (65) 6398-8308

Philipp L. Lotter
MD - Corporate Finance
Corporate Finance Group
JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350
SUBSCRIBERS: (65) 6398-8308

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Singapore Pte. Ltd.
50 Raffles Place #23-06
Singapore Land Tower
Singapore 48623
Singapore
JOURNALISTS: (852) 3758 -1350
SUBSCRIBERS: (65) 6398-8308

Moody's affirms A1 ratings of PETRONAS; outlook stable
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