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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Gazprom Not Crisis-Proof After All

Oct. 23, 2008 - Kommersant - A report published by Gazprom yesterday acknowledges for the first time that the company may encounter problems attracting credit and refinancing its debt. At the same time, it became known that the gas monopoly is holding a competition to receive new credit and that it does not expect to show an increase in receipts or profit this year, in spite of high indicators in the first quarter. Gazprom chief Alexey Miller predicted receipts of around $100 billion this year (compared to $97 billion in 2007) and net profit of $30 billion ($27 billion last year). The company’s first quarter financial results, also published yesterday, indicate that its net profit grew 30 percent in that period to 273.44 billion rubles using international accounting standards. Its EBITDA rose 62 percent to 422 billion rubles and receipts rose 48 percent to 909.94 billion rubles. All of those results were better than economists had forecast. The good showing comes thanks to the high export gas prices ($356.40 per 100 cu. m.) and expanding deliveries to Europe. On Monday, Gazprom chief Alexey Miller stated that “For a giant like Gazprom, a financial crisis is not a worrisome factor.” Nonetheless, the report notes that “The current situation may have negative influence on the ability of the group to receive new loans and refinance current debt at previous conditions. The general reduction in the level of liquidity may influence the ability of the group’s counteragents to ensure prompt payment of debts to Gazprom.” Gazprom has already asked the government for a loan of $1 billion for loan refinancing.

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