Standard & Poor's has reconsidered the outlook for Sibneft (the Siberian Oil Company) from "developing" to "negative". It also assigned TNK International Ltd. a "stable" outlook and excluded the company from the CreditWatch list, on which it was included on December 6, 2002 with a "positive" outlook. Long-term credit ratings of Sibneft and TNK were affirmed at B+ and the Sibneft national scale rating was lowered from ruAA to ruA+.
The rating agency explained that these ratings and outlooks reflected the worsening of the companies' financial portfolios after the acquisition of a 74.95-percent stake in Slavneft for $1.86bn from the Russian government and a 10.83-percent stake for $207m in the same oil company from the Belarusian government at a privatization auction on December 18, 2002. The blocks of shares were purchased via a company owned by Sibneft and TNK on parity basis. The decision of the rating agency also reflects some uncertainly in the future strategy of these Russian oil companies regarding the acquired assets.
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