MOSCOW, March 26, /ITAR-TASS/. Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said Wednesday it revised its outlooks on Russian oil and gas companies Gazprom, Rosneft, Transneft and LUKoil to negative from stable.
At the same time, the international ratings agency affirmed its 'BBB/A-2' long- and short-term corporate credit ratings on energy giant Gazprom and its 'BBB' foreign currency and 'BBB+' local currency long-term corporate credit ratings on the Transneft pipeline operator.
It also affirmed its 'BBB' long-term corporate credit rating on the Rosneft state oil company and its 'BBB' long-term corporate credit and 'ruAAA' Russia national scale ratings on the LUKoil oil company.
The outlook revisions followed the agency’s recent revision of Russia’s outlook to negative from stable in view of Western sanctions imposed on some Russian companies and individuals following Crimea’s accession to Russia after a referendum in which most Crimeans voted to secede from Ukraine and join Russia earlier in March.
“In our view, the ratings on Gazprom, Rosneft, and Transneft cannot exceed that of their controlling shareholder, the Russian Federation,” S&P’s statement said.
Crimea’s reunification with Russia on March 18 took place amid political turmoil in Ukraine, where a coup occurred in February following months of anti-government protests that often turned violent. President Viktor Yanukovich had to leave Ukraine citing security concerns last month.
Russia considers Yanukovich Ukraine’s legitimate leader and does not recognize the new self-proclaimed Ukrainian authorities.
Despite Russian President Vladimir Putin and other officials repeatedly stating that the Crimean referendum was in full conformity with the international law and the UN Charter, and also in line with the precedent set by Kosovo’s secession from Serbia in 2008, Ukraine’s new authorities and the West have denounced the plebiscite claiming it was illegal, and have refused to recognize Crimea part of Russia.
Putin and other top officials reacted sarcastically to the Western sanctions. Russia has pledged to respond in kind. It has already imposed tit-for-tat sanctions on Western officials.
Standard & Poor's also said Wednesday it revised its outlooks on Russian state-owned rail monopoly Russian Railways and Russian long-distance passenger rail operator Federal Passenger Company (FPC) to negative from stable.