October 8, 2015 / 1:10 PM / 4 years ago

Fitch Affirms Kazakhstan's Sovereign Wealth Fund Samruk-Kazyna at 'BBB+'; Outlook Stable

(The following statement was released by the rating agency) MOSCOW/MILAN/LONDON, October 08 (Fitch) Fitch Ratings has affirmed Kazakhstan-based JSC Sovereign Wealth Fund Samruk-Kazyna's (SK) Long-term foreign currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'BBB+', Long-term local currency IDR at 'A-', National Long-term rating at 'AAA(kaz)' and Short-term foreign currency IDR at 'F2'. The Outlooks on the Long-term ratings are Stable. Fitch has also affirmed SK's senior unsecured domestic bonds at Long-term local currency 'A-' and at National Long-term 'AAA(kaz)'. The affirmation of the IDRs and senior debt ratings reflects SK's unchanged strategic importance, and its special legal status as a sovereign wealth fund and the state's key asset management company, 100% owned by Kazakhstan (BBB+/A-/Stable). KEY RATING DRIVERS SK's ratings are equalised with those of Kazakhstan, which reflects SK's status as an extension of the government in managing its strategic assets, tight control by the government and 100% state ownership. They also reflect the fund's strong operational and financial integration with the sovereign. Fitch uses its public-sector entities rating criteria in its analysis of SK and views it as being credit-linked to the sovereign. SK was endowed by the Kazakhstani government with stakes in key national companies to improve the sovereign wealth by increasing the value of the assets under its management. SK's operations are based on the special law on sovereign wealth fund, highlighting the fund's special status. The fund manages stakes in the country's strategic companies in prime sectors of the local economy, i.e. oil and gas, electricity, mining, transportation and other sectors. SK's portfolio covers 31 second-tier companies, which in turn consisted of 593 entities at end-2014. Fitch views the government's control and oversight over SK's operations as strong. SK's board comprises key national Ministers as well as independent directors and is chaired by the republic's Prime Minister. The state mandates SK's key policies on debt, dividends and investments, appoints its audit committee and external auditor, monitors and controls the use of government funds allocated to the entity. In Fitch's view, SK is highly integrated with the national budgetary system. The government uses SK as a financing vehicle to channel funding to shareholding companies in its portfolio, and as a guarantor in viable economic projects. To fulfill its quasi-fiscal role SK has received subsidised government loans and equity injections, as well as subsidised loans from the National Bank and the National Fund since inception in 2008. These funds were mostly passed through to subsidiaries to aid more efficient asset management of SK's portfolio. Fitch rates the fund as a standalone entity and does not factor in group obligations. SK's debt is not referenced in the state budget. However, its debt obligations are viewed by the government as moral obligation of the state and considered as quasi-sovereign liabilities. SK's standalone debt decreased marginally to 35% of equity and reserves in 2014 from 39% in 2013. SK also serves as a guarantor for its subsidiaries and the amount of guarantees, as reflected in its financial statements, rose to KZT38.8bn in 2014 from KZT37.1bn in 2013 (2009: KZT22bn). The group's consolidated net debt rose to 4.5x EBITDA at end-2014 from 3.2x a year earlier. Fitch notes that the recent depreciation of tenge in August 2015 could put the group's consolidated financials under pressure in 2015-2016, due to increased forex risk. To mitigate this our baseline assumes extraordinary support from the sovereign would be forthcoming for SK. SK divested some of its stakes in distressed financial institutions in 2015, although its portfolio remains large. Following the divestment and after certain development institutions were transferred to Baiterek (BBB+/F2/Stable) in 2013 SK should become more focused on profit-generating subsidiaries. RATING SENSITIVITIES A positive rating action could result from an upgrade of Kazakhstan. Conversely, a negative rating action on Kazakhstan or a weakening of the fund's links with the state would lead to a downgrade. Contact: Primary Analyst Konstantin Anglichanov Director +7 495 956 9994 Fitch Ratings CIS Ltd 26 Valovaya Street Moscow, 125047 Secondary Analyst Elena Ozhegova Associate Director +7 495 956 9901 Committee Chairperson Raffaele Carnevale Senior Director +39 02 87 90 87 203 Media Relations: Peter Fitzpatrick, London, Tel: +44 20 3530 1103, Email: peter.fitzpatrick@fitchratings.com. Additional information is available on www.fitchratings.com Applicable Criteria Rating of Public-Sector Entities - Outside the United States (pub. 26 Feb 2015) here Tax-Supported Rating Criteria (pub. 14 Aug 2012) here Additional Disclosures Dodd-Frank Rating Information Disclosure Form here _id=991984 Solicitation Status here Endorsement Policy here ail=31 ALL FITCH CREDIT RATINGS ARE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS. PLEASE READ THESE LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS BY FOLLOWING THIS LINK: here IN ADDITION, RATING DEFINITIONS AND THE TERMS OF USE OF SUCH RATINGS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE AGENCY'S PUBLIC WEBSITE 'WWW.FITCHRATINGS.COM'. PUBLISHED RATINGS, CRITERIA AND METHODOLOGIES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THIS SITE AT ALL TIMES. FITCH'S CODE OF CONDUCT, CONFIDENTIALITY, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, AFFILIATE FIREWALL, COMPLIANCE AND OTHER RELEVANT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FROM THE 'CODE OF CONDUCT' SECTION OF THIS SITE. FITCH MAY HAVE PROVIDED ANOTHER PERMISSIBLE SERVICE TO THE RATED ENTITY OR ITS RELATED THIRD PARTIES. DETAILS OF THIS SERVICE FOR RATINGS FOR WHICH THE LEAD ANALYST IS BASED IN AN EU-REGISTERED ENTITY CAN BE FOUND ON THE ENTITY SUMMARY PAGE FOR THIS ISSUER ON THE FITCH WEBSITE.

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