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09 May 2007
Moody's assigns Ba1/Ba2 to Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port (Russia)
London, 09 May 2007 -- Moody's has today assigned a Ba1 Corporate Family Rating to OJSC
Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port ("NCSP"), and a Ba2
rating to the US$ Loan Participation Notes (the "Notes")
expected to be issued by NCSP's affiliate, Novorossiysk Port
Capital S.A. The rating outlook of both companies is stable.
NCSP's Ba1 Corporate Family Rating reflects the combination of the
following inputs: (1) a Baseline Credit Assessment of 12 (which
equates to a Ba2 rating on the Moody's rating scale), (2)
the Baa2 local currency rating of the Government of the Russian Federation,
(3) medium Dependence and (4) low Support. The final rating is
therefore one notch higher than the Baseline Credit Assessment implied
rating. Moody's adds that the Ba1 Corporate Family Rating
further reflects a Probability of Default Rating (PDR) of Ba1 and a company-wide
Loss Given Default (LGD) assessment of 50%.
Moody's explains that the Ba2 rating of the Notes, which are
on-lent to NCSP as senior unsecured obligations, and LGD-4
(65%) assessment, reflects the Notes' structural subordination,
given that a number of NCSP subsidiaries have senior secured debt.
The rating of the Notes assumes that the senior secured debt provided
by Sberbank to NCSP to acquire a number of subsidiaries in 2006 is refinanced
by a mixture of the Notes and other senor unsecured obligations,
but that the secured debt raised at certain operating subsidiaries to
finance capital expenditure will remain a feature of NCSP's capital
The Baseline Credit Assessment of 12 reflects (i) NCSP's role as
the operator of most of the stevedoring capacity at one of Russia's
most important seaports under a long-term lease arrangement and
NCSP's nationwide service area; (ii) the substantial growth
prospects and material capital expenditure obligations required to meet
this anticipated growth, although these are somewhat mitigated by
(iii) the risk that significant year-on-year growth assumptions
are not achieved; and (iv) a capital structure incorporating somewhat
shorter debt maturities than usual for a major infrastructure borrower
and modest third-party liquidity.
The Low level of Support (an assessment of the likelihood of the Government
stepping in to avoid a default in the case of need) reflects the modest
level of ownership by the Government of the Russian Federation and the
strategic importance of the Port of Novorossiysk to Russia, although
the latter is counteracted somewhat by the relatively modest economic
importance of NCSP to the finances of the Government. The medium
dependence reflects the relatively high exposure NCSP has to oil,
which is also an important driver of the Russian economy, together
with other commodity cargoes which are also to some extent dependent on
the general health of the Russian economy.
NCSP's stable outlook reflects, on the one hand, Moody's
expectation that NCSP will see continued growth in its business and that
capital expenditure programmes are appropriate for the expected growth.
On the other hand, if revenues do not expand as quickly as anticipated,
Moody's believes the rating can absorb the levels of debt implied
by lower growth assumptions.
The rating could be upgraded in the event of a significant reduction in
expected debt levels through strong growth in revenues underpinned by
the reliable establishment of cargo flows anticipated by NCSP, together
with modest additional future capital expenditure. However,
Moody's does not expect this to occur within the next 18-24
months. Furthermore, the substantial elimination of the secured
debt that currently features in certain NCSP subsidiaries -- either
through repayment or refinancing with unsecured debt -- would likely
result in a one-notch upgrade in the senior unsecured debt to bring
it into line with the Corporate Family Rating.
The rating could be downgraded if NCSP fails to generate material revenue
growth and / or NCSP makes significant investments in non-PoR-related
activities that counteracted the expected effective de-leveraging.
Following this rating action, OJSC Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port
has the following ratings outstanding with a stable outlook:
- Corporate Family Rating (Foreign Currency): Ba1.
- Corporate Family Rating (Foreign Currency) -- Probability
of Default Rating: Ba1.
- Novorossiysk Port Capital S.A.- US$
Loan Participation Notes: Ba2.
- Novorossiysk Port Capital S.A.- US$
Loan Participation Notes: LGD-4 (65%).
OJSC Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port provides stevedoring services at
the Port of Novorossiysk, which is located on Russia's Black
Sea Coast. It reported revenues of US$277.3 million
for the year ending 31 December 2006, and total assets of US$1,294.2
million as at that date.
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
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Senior Vice President
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
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