Agroton Bonds and Shares Drop as S&P Cuts Rating: Warsaw Mover

Agroton Public Ltd. bonds and shares declined as Standard & Poors cut the company’s debt rating to “selective default” after the Ukrainian farming and food production firm failed to pay interest on its debt.

The yield on $50 million of bonds due July 2014 jumped 27 basis points to 77.87 percent at 1:29 p.m. in Warsaw, data compiled by Bloomberg show. The Warsaw-listed shares dropped 1.2 percent to 1.61 zloty after falling 33 percent last week. That compares with an initial public offering price of 27 zloty in November 2010.

The Luhansk, Ukraine-based producer, said in a July 16 filing that it is unable to pay coupon as it cannot withdraw cash from its account with the Bank of Cyprus. S&P cut Agroton to “selective default” from CCC, and withdrew the ratings “at the issuer’s request,” it said in a statement after markets closed on July 19.

“Agroton’s decision not to pay the interest on the 2014 notes follows further deterioration in the company’s operating environment in 2013,” Anton Geyze, a credit analyst at S&P in Moscow, said in a statement on July 19. “We continue to believe that Agroton’s information flow and transparency remain subpar, and we assess company’s management and corporate governance as ‘weak’ under our criteria.”

Agroton proposed on July 17 to extend the bond’s maturity to 2019, postpone the coupon payment and cut it to 8 percent from 12.5 percent. The bondholders will vote on the proposals on Aug. 8. Fitch Ratings downgraded Agroton on July 17 to C from CCC.

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