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Author`s name Michael Simpson

S&P Points to YUKOS and Sibneft Rating Problems

S&P's emphasizes that the rating may be lowered by several levels in case YUKOS' operating activities are seriously violated
Standard & Poor's international rating agency placed the "BB-" rating of Russia's YUKOS oil company on CreditWatch with the negative forecast; at that the "B+" rating of Sibneft was placed on CreditWatch with the forecast "developing". The information was obtained from a S&P report sent to MFD-InfoCenter.

The decision was made following the resolution of Russia's Court of Arbitration to declare invalid an issue of YUKOS shares. As a result, former Sibneft shareholders may get back 57.5 per cent out of the total share of 92 per cent of Sibneft shares held by YUKOS (the decision may be appealed against).
 
Credit analyst with Standard & Poor's Yelena Anankina says: "Standard & Poor's supposes that though probable loss of the Sibneft controlling interest, the corporate management risks and the legal risks that YUKOS runs while making reverse deal with Sibneft shareholders negatively affect YUKOS' solvency, they are just an element of the political and juridical pressure recently exerted upon the oil company."
 
Exclusion of the YUKOS rating from CreditWatch requires estimation of risks connected with fiscal and juridical inquiries, actions of governmental institutions, the management and both conflicting groups of the company's shareholders. S&P's emphasizes that the rating may be lowered by several levels in case YUKOS' operating activities are seriously violated, NewsInfo reports.
 
The Sibneft rating will be excluded from CreditWatch when the company's stock structure, its financial status, financial policy and corporate management become more definite. Probable lowering of the Sibneft rating is connected with the company's aggressive line in the sphere of corporate management and finance, with the risk of worsening of Sibneft's financial showings as a result of the reverse deal. On the other hand, Sibneft's high operating showings may result in rise of the company's rating.  PRIME-TASS reports that Sibneft's rating may be lowered or raised by one level at most.
 
Based on publications of news agencies