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Global Credit Research - 27 Sep 2010
Approximately USD300 million of rated debt affected.
London, 27 September 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service has today placed the Ba1 Corporate Family
of PJSC Novorossiysk Commercial Seaport ("NCSP") and the Ba1
debt rating of the Novorossiysk Port Capital S.A. USD300
million 7% Loan Participation Notes due 2012 (the "Notes"),
together with all associated ratings, on review for downgrade.
This rating announcement follows the statement by NCSP that it is preparing
a transaction to acquire 100% ownership of Primorsk Commercial
Port LLC ("PCP"), a key port on Russia's Baltic
coast and the export point for Russia's Baltic oil pipeline system.
No details as to likely acquisition cost or means of finance have been
made public at this time. A condition to the acquisition is that
a controlling stake in NCSP is sold to OAO Transnet and investment group
Summa Capital, an investment vehicle for private interests,
who are the current owners of PCP.
The rating review will focus on the cost of the acquisition, the
additional debt that NCSP may be required to take on to finance it,
the post acquisition ownership structure, and NCSP's business
plan for PCP together with the integration risks associated therewith.
Moody's notes that the combined transaction is subject to approval
by the Russian Federal Antimonopoly Service and the Government Commission
for Control of Foreign Investments in the Russian Federation, as
well as NCSP's Board of Directors.
Moody's also notes the publication of a Presidential Decree dated
18 June 2010 which notes that the Russian Government has removed NCSP
from the list of strategic assets, and the Prime Ministerial Decree
dated 4 August 2010 stating that the Russian Government's shares
in NCSP may be disposed of as part of a projected Government privatisation
programme. Consequently, as part of this rating review,
Moody's will consider whether it is still appropriate to provide
a one-notch uplift to NCSP's rating to reflect the possibility
of extraordinary Government support if this were ever required.
In accordance with Moody's standard practices for managing ratings
that may transition due to M&A activity, the rating will likely
remain on review, with the review being concluded and the issuer's
ratings moved to their final level once the transaction is complete,
or where completion is subject to procedural delay only, i.e.
where it is substantially complete. Nevertheless, Moody's
will endeavour to give guidance as to where the post-transaction
rating may fall as information becomes publicly available.
Moody's also highlights that the Notes contain a change of control
covenant which may be triggered, depending on how the transaction
is structured, if the transaction proceeds. Consequently,
if the transaction is to proceed, NCSP may need to obtain the necessary
consent of Noteholders or redeem the Notes in accordance with their terms.
NCSP's Ba1 Corporate Family Rating reflects a fundamental credit quality
of Ba2 (expressed as a Baseline Credit Assessment of 12) together with
one rating notch uplift to reflect the ownership of the Government of
the Russian Federation, assessed in accordance with Moody's
rating methodology for Government Related issuers. NCSP's
Ba2 equivalent Baseline Credit Assessment reflects (i) its position as
Russia's largest port and its successful transition over the last
few years to a more modern provider of bulk cargo and container handling
capacity, (ii) its effective rate charging framework, (iii)
its moderate capital expenditure plans and possible investment strategy
and (iv) its moderate debt leverage but relatively early debt maturities.
In accordance with Moody's rating methodology for Government Related
Issuers, the Ba1 final rating is a 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 Baa1 local currency
rating of the Government of the Russian Federation, (3) Moderate
dependence and (4) Low support.
NCSP's rating is somewhat constrained by its location in Russia
and its consequent exposure to the geopolitical risks associated with
operating in that country. Consequently, Moody's would
expect to see a longer track record of operations at steady state with
no evidence of negative political or other country-related external
pressures before NCSP was considered for an investment grade credit rating.
Nevertheless, NCSP is currently considered very well positioned
in its rating category and has headroom to absorb increased indebtedness.
Therefore if the transaction does not proceed but Moody's considers
that rating uplift for Government ownership is no longer justified,
there may be an equalisation of the Baseline Credit Assessment and the
final rating at Ba1.
The following ratings have been placed on review for downgrade by this
PJSC Novorossiysk Commercial Seaport:
Corporate Family Rating (Domestic Currency) -- Ba1 / Aa1.ru
Corporate Family Rating (Foreign Currency) -- Ba1
Probability of Default Rating -- Ba1
Novorossiysk Port Capital S.A.:
USD300 million 7% Loan Participation Notes due 2012 -- Ba1
USD300 million 7% Loan Participation Notes due 2012 -- LGD-4
NCSP's ratings were assigned by evaluating factors that Moody's
believes are relevant to the credit profile of the issuer, such
as (i) the business risk and competitive position of the issuer versus
others within its industry or sector; (ii) the capital structure
and financial risk of the issuer; (iii) the projected performance
of the issuer over the near to intermediate term; and (iv) the issuer's
history of achieving consistent operating performance and meeting budget
or financial plan goals. These attributes were compared against
other issuers both within and outside of NCSP's core peer group.
Moody's believes that NCSP's ratings are comparable to ratings
assigned to other issuers of similar credit risk.
Please see the ratings tab on the issuer / entity page on moodys.com
for the last rating action and rating history.
PJSC Novorossiysk Commercial Sea Port is a company providing stevedoring
services at the Port of Novorossiysk located on Russia's Black Sea
Coast. It had consolidated revenues of US$675 million for
year ended 31 December 2009, and total assets of US$1.36
billion as at that date.
Senior Vice President
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454
MD - Infrastructure Finance
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
Moody's places Novorossiysk Commercial Seaport ratings on review for downgrade
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