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Gazprom Debt Rating in Peril Along With Rosneft: Moody’s

The credit ratings of OAO Gazprom and OAO Rosneft may be cut by Moody’s Investors Service because “weak institutional strength” could impede any government efforts to support the country’s two largest companies.

The action followed Moody’s warning last week that Russia’s government bond rating may be lowered because of a weakening economy amid the dispute with European Union trading partners and the U.S. over Ukrainian sovereignty.

Moody’s said today in a statement that the ratings of state-run Gazprom, the world’s largest natural gas producer, and Rosneft, the country’s largest crude producer, are closely aligned with that of the national government.

As recently as March 6, Moody’s said Gazprom’s finances were robust enough to withstand fallout from the Ukrainian conflict. Moscow-based Gazprom today raised the price it will charge Ukraine for gas by 44 percent after a discount deal expired and Ukraine’s unpaid gas bills exceeded $1.7 billion.

Standard & Poor’s last week lowered the credit outlooks for Gazprom, Rosneft, pipeline operator OAO Transneft and crude producer OAO Lukoil amid concern international sanctions may cripple the central government.

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