...

Depreciation of Kazakh tenge can put Samruk-Kazyna’s financials under pressure - Fitch

Business Materials 9 October 2015 11:03
Fitch Ratings international rating agency 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'.
Depreciation of Kazakh tenge can put Samruk-Kazyna’s financials under pressure - Fitch

Baku, Azerbaijan, Oct.9
By Elena Kosolapova - Trend:

Fitch Ratings international rating agency 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 message from the rating agency said Oct.9.

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 percent owned by Kazakhstan (BBB+/A-/Stable)," said the message.

Samruk-Kazyna's ratings are equalized 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 percent state ownership, according to the Fitch Ratings.

They also reflect the fund's strong operational and financial integration with the sovereign, said the message.

Samruk-Kazyna 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 subsidized government loans and equity injections, as well as subsidized 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.

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," said the message.

Fitch reminded that SK divested some of its stakes in distressed financial institutions, 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, said the message.

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.

---

Follow the author on Twitter: @E_Kosolapova

Tags:
Latest

Latest