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IPO only way to privatize Russian Sovcomflot shipping company — Russian property watchdog

January 27, 2015, 21:45 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Russia’s Sovcomflot (SCF) is one of the country’s biggest maritime shipping companies that focuses on transportation of oil, oil products and liquefied national gas
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© ITAR-TASS/Stanislav Krasilnikov

MOSCOW, January 27. /TASS/. Neither Russian Economic Development Ministry, nor the Federal agency for state property management (Rosimushchestvo) suggested any other scenarios of Sovcomflot privatization except public offering of common shares, head of the agency Olga Dergunova said on Tuesday.

"When we talked with the company we did not discuss and consider any other scenarios except public offering," Dergunova said, adding that the scenario of attracting a strategic investor is not considered either.

Russia’s Sovcomflot (SCF) is one of the country’s biggest maritime shipping companies. It focuses on transportation of oil, oil products and liquefied national gas. In December 2014, its board of directors approved the decision on additional share issue of 14.29% of the company’s equity capital.

Rosimushchestvo, which owns 100% of the stock, plans to privatize the firm. Earlier head of property watchdog Olga Dergunova said that Sovcomflot shares could be placed on any bourse, including the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), though the Moscow exchange tops priority list.

Meanwhile, Fitch rating agency affirmed Sovcomflot ratings at "BB-" and revised its outlook to stable from negative two months ago.

On November 21, 2014 the rater reported that "the outlook revision reflects the improvement of Sovcomflot’s financial profile in 9M14 and our expectations for a stronger than previously forecast performance in 2014 and over 2015-2017, mainly driven by a tanker shipping sector recovery."

The agency also said that while IPO timing remains uncertain, it is likely to materially improve the company’s credit metrics and may lead to a positive rating action should the offering take place. "Our current financial forecast does not take into account proceeds from the potential IPO as its timing remains uncertain," Fitch reported.

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