- The notes, which mature in 2115, will be issued through its wholly owned subsidiary, Petrobras Global Finance B.V. (PGF), and will be unconditionally and irrevocably guaranteed by Petrobras
- Petrobras' ratings continue to reflect its close linkage with the sovereign rating of Brazil
- Petrobras' Negative Outlook reflects the uncertainties surrounding the company's ability to deleverage its balance sheet
Fitch Ratings has assigned a 'BBB-' rating to Petroleo Brasileiro S.A.'s (Petrobras) proposed senior unsecured century notes issuance. The notes, which mature in 2115, will be issued through its wholly owned subsidiary, Petrobras Global Finance B.V. (PGF), and will be unconditionally and irrevocably guaranteed by Petrobras. Proceeds will be used for general corporate purposes. Fitch currently rates Petrobras 'BBB-'. The Rating Outlook is Negative.
Key rating drivers
Petrobras' ratings continue to reflect its close linkage with the sovereign rating of Brazil due to the government's control of the company and its strategic importance to Brazil as its near monopoly supplier of liquid fuels. Absent implicit and explicit government support and its defacto monopoly position, Petrobras' credit quality is not commensurate with an investment grade rating.
Government support is evidenced by the recent lending commitments offered by stated-owned Banco do Brasil and Caixa Economica Federal as well as the decision to maintain gasoline and diesel prices at the pump significantly above international levels in order to bolster Petrobras' cash flow generation. By law, the federal government must hold at least a majority of Petrobras' voting stock. The government currently owns 60.5% of Petrobras' voting rights, directly and indirectly, and has an overall economic stake in the company of 48.9%. Petrobras' cash position is sufficient to meet its short-term funding needs.
Petrobras' Negative Outlook reflects the uncertainties surrounding the company's ability to deleverage its balance sheet over the medium term. Petrobras may face challenges to deleverage its capital structure organically as the corruption scandal may result in delivery delays of production units.
Fitch will continue to monitor Petrobras' strategy to strengthen its capital structure and expects the company to release coherent deleveraging program once the company releases its revised business plan for the next five years. Should Petrobras succeed in placing this proposed debt issuance, it will be viewed as a positive step in regaining access to the debt capital markets, which the company relies on in order to support its investment plans and funding needs.