Fitch affirms SOCAR at 'BBB-'
Apr 19 - Fitch Ratings has affirmed State Oil Company of the Azerbaijan Republic's (SOCAR) Long-term foreign currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'BBB-' and Short-term foreign currency IDR at 'F3' and senior unsecured rating at 'BBB-'. The Outlook on the Long-term IDR is Stable.
SOCAR's ratings incorporate state support as it is wholly state-owned, represents the state's interests in the strategically important oil and gas industry, and continues to receive equity injections from the state (AZN190m in 2011), in accordance with Fitch's parent and subsidiary rating linkage methodology. In Fitch's view, although SOCAR continues to benefit from relatively strong links with the Azerbaijan state ('BBB-'/Positive), full and timely financial support, which would allow full rating alignment with the sovereign, is not certain without robust legal ties (e.g. explicit guarantees). Government guaranteed debt accounted for only 5% of the group's total debt at end-2011. Fitch views SOCAR's standalone rating to be commensurate with the 'BB' rating category.