(The following statement was released by the rating agency)
May 30 - Fitch Ratings has affirmed Gazprom International SA's (Gazprom International) notes at 'A-' with a Stable Outlook.
The affirmation reflects the stable performance of the future flows as well as the reduced delivery risk for the underlying gas contracts through the usage of the new Nord Stream pipeline.
Gazprom International is a future flow transaction which securitises export receivables generated by OAO Gazprom (Gazprom, 'BBB'/Stable/'F3') from the sale of gas to ENI Spa ('A+'/Stable/'F1') in Italy and GasTerra in the Netherlands. All receivables due from the offtakers are settled through the transaction's offshore collection account before they are directed to Gazprom.
Both gas sales and average prices have remained stable despite several amendments made to the contract terms with GasTerra. Six- and 12-month debt service coverage ratios (DSCR) were reported at 17.9x and 17.3x, respectively, for the last reporting period, which ended in November 2011 and the respective DSCR tests are comfortably passed.
Thus far Gazprom has dispatched gas to Western Europe through two main corridors, the Belarus corridor crossing Belarus and Poland, and the Ukraine corridor, crossing Ukraine, Slovakia and the Czech Republic. The opening of the Nord Stream pipeline in November 2011, gives Gazprom a third corridor to transport gas directly through the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany. Fitch views this additional flexibility as a mitigating factor to the delivery and flow disruption risk.
OAO Gazprom has been assigned a Going Concern Score of GC2. According to Fitch's Future Flow Rating Securitization Criteria, a GC2 score is consistent with a possible uplift of up to four notches above the originator's local currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR). This uplift is tempered if the originator's rating falls into the investment grade category. In Fitch's view, the historical performance, current DSCRs, and structural features of Gazprom International's notes are consistent with a two-notch uplift above OAO Gazprom's local currency'BBB' IDR.