04:54 GMT +317 February 2019
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    Fitch Ratings

    Russian Utilities Able to Weather Economic Downgrade - Fitch

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    According to Fitch Ratings agency, Russia's seven utilities would grow by a factor of 0.6 following a capital expenditure program in the banking sector despite an expected 4-percent contraction in GDP.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — All but two Russian utility companies have the capacity to survive the current economic downturn, the Fitch Ratings agency stated Tuesday.

    "The Russian utilities' liquidity profile is adequate with only two companies demonstrating a liquidity shortfall — RusHydro in 2015-2016, and Ventrelt in 2016," the agency said.

    Meanwhile, it suggested last week that Russia's BBB- rating could be reconsidered as soon as next month.

    Russian Deputy Finance Minister Sergei Storchak told reporters Tuesday that Moscow worked closely with the agency in addressing the differences to their macroeconomic outlooks.

    Fitch added that despite an expected 4-percent contraction in GDP, Russia's seven utilities would grow by a factor of 0.6 following a capital expenditure program in the banking sector.

    "This satisfactory liquidity is achieved mainly through credit lines from Russian banks, which exposes Russian utilities to the Russian banking system's health," the statement read.

    Over the course of the year, three major rating agencies – Standard & Poor's (S&P), Moody's and Fitch – downgraded Russia's credit rating to junk or near-junk status.

    Fitch pegged Russia to its lowest benchmark with a negative outlook in mid-January, citing falling oil prices, ruble depreciation and the effects of a recession on the stability of the country's financial sector.

    The Russian Finance Ministry maintains the slew of downgrades by western ratings agencies are politically motivated and do not reflect the real market.


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