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Fitch Affirms Gazprom-Media's IDR at 'BB', Withdraws Ratings

Fitch Ratings has affirmed Russia-based Gazprom-Media Holding's (GPMH) Long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) at 'BB' with a Negative Outlook, the rating agency informed.

The company's National Long-Term Rating was affirmed at 'AA-(rus)' with a Negative Outlook. All ratings were withdrawn.

Fitch has withdrawn the ratings as GPMH has chosen to stop participating in the rating process. Therefore, Fitch will no longer have sufficient information to maintain the ratings. Accordingly, Fitch will no longer provide ratings or analytical coverage for GPMH. The company does not have any outstanding bonds.

GPMH is a diversified Russian media company, with most revenues and EBITDA generated from its free-to-air channels, resulting in a high reliance on advertising. The company's leading viewership market positions are supported by its strong control over content. GPMH has maintained strong EBITDA margins and positive cash flow generation.

After its merger with ProfMedia at end-2013, GPMH strengthened its position as the largest free-to-air TV group in Russia. The company estimated that including ProfMedia channels it controlled 24% of all 18+ TV viewership in December 2013. GPMH's portfolio of general interest (NTV), entertainment (TNT, TV-3, Pyatnitsa) and thematic (2x2) TV channels is well-balanced, protecting the company against viewership volatility at individual channels.

Fitch expects higher debt, on the back of its ProfMedia acquisition, and EBITDA pressures driven by NTV-Plus's market repositioning are likely to increase leverage to above 1.3x net debt/EBITDA by end-2014 from 1.1x at end-2013, adjusted for the ProfMedia acquisition. While the company has some scope for deleveraging, this would likely be contingent on a financial turnaround at NTV-Plus.

Gazprom-Media Holding OJSC is a major Russian media holding principally engaged in the consolidation and development of media assets. It unites all the media segments: television (NTV, TNT, satellite broadcasting company NTV-PLUS); radio (Echo of Moscow, CITY-FM, Relax-FM, Detskoe Radio (Children's Radio), Comedy Radio); publishing (Seven Days Publishing House, the magazines Itogy, 7 Days – TV Program, Caravan of Stories, Caravan of Stories' Collection; the Tribuna newspaper; television review magazine Panorama TV); film production (cinema production company NTV Kino; advertising (sales houses Gazprom-Media, GPM-Digital; cinemas (cinema theatres Oktyabr, Crystal Palace Cinema); Internet (Rutube and Now.Ru web portals).

RAS net profit of OJSC Gazprom-Media Holding for 2013 grew twice to RUB 1.289 billion from RUB 636.093 million the year before. Revenue increased by 12% to RUB 9.173 million from RUB 8.189 million, GP by 1.31% to RUB 2.63 million from RUB 2.596 million, pre-tax profit twice to RUB 1.289 billion from RUB 635.499 million

"AK&M", 25.07.2014


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