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    MOODY'S MAY UPGRADE THE RATINGS OF GAZPROM AND ROSNEFT

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    MOSCOW, September 16 (RIA Novosti) - Moody's Investors Service plans to upgrade the ratings of Gazprom and Rosneft, says the statement of the international rating agency. Their ratings have been recalled for a review in connection with the recent decision of the Russian government to increase its share in the authorised capital of Gazprom by exchanging a 100% stock in Rosneft for 10.7% of Gazprom's shares.

    As a result of the deal, which is to be completed by year-end, the share of the Russian government in Gazprom's authorised capital will grow from 38.4% to 50% plus one share.

    Moody's plans to finish the rating review by the end of the year. When reviewing the ratings of Gazprom, it plans to determine if the deal is vital for the integration of the group in the energy policy of Russia and if it will have a negative effect on Gazprom's credit risks and any other investment demands following the deal.

    The agency also plans to determine if the increase in the state's share in Gazprom would affect the gas concern's rating, which is now one step lower than the sovereignty rating of Russia. Besides, Moody's will also analyse the share of the new company in the production of oil and gas in Russia.

    If the agency comes to the conclusion that Gazprom's creditors can profit from the increase of the state influence in the company and it would not affect its commercial orientation, it may decide to upgrade the basic rating of Gazprom to the rating of Russia, says the press release.

    When reviewing the rating of Rosneft, Moody's intends to determine how much its creditors would gain from the possible mechanisms of assistance within the new group and plans concerning any restructuring of Rosneft's unsecured debt. The agency will also study the long-term governance strategy of the company and possible benefits from the planned merger.

    Gazprom has Moody's basic rating Ba1 and issuer rating Ba2, while the ratings of Rosneft are Ba3 and B2.

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