SK press release regarding NC KMG rating downgrade
On 23 November 2017, Standard & Poor’s lowered the credit rating of NC KMG to “BB-” from “BB”. According to S&P, the rating downgrade is primarily attributable to reduced readiness of Government to support KMG, as well as to complicated procedures of state support via Samruk -Kazyna (the Fund).
Meanwhile, other rating agencies left their NC KMG ratings unchanged (Moody’s at Baa, Fitch at BBB-) and S&P’s assessment of NC KMG’s operating and financial outlook remained the same, which is reflected in the Stable outlook to the credit rating of the company.
The Fund understands all risks and concerns reflected in S&P report, but would like to provide additional clarifications.
KMG serves as one of the primary portfolio companies of the Fund, contributing a significant percentage to the consolidated EBITDA of the Fund. The Fund on its side, had provided support to NC KMG several times and plans to support the company within its limits in the foreseeable future (debt repayment, asset optimization and development, etc.).
For instance in 2015, amidst deteriorating global macroeconomic environment and commodity price decline, the Government of Kazakhstan and the Fund provided urgent and timely support to the company via the acquisition of equity stake in Kashagan by the Fund.
Our combined actions with NC KMG are aimed at the gradual reduction of the company’s debt, with NC KMG’s financial condition currently being stable. The company has adequate liquidity and cash flow accumulation capacity to service its debt obligations on a timely manner.
Regarding the buyback of Kashagan stake, NC KMG has the rights and may execute the buyback over mutually acceptable timeline. The decision about option execution will be based on NC KMG’s priorities over the medium-term and market conditions. In addition, we would like to highlight that the Fund has adequate resources and capabilities to repay the debt related to Kashagan acquisition without using the buyback option on KMG side.