14 Mar 2022
VEON credit rating update
Amsterdam, 14 March 2022 – VEON Ltd. (NASDAQ: VEON, Euronext Amsterdam: VEON), a leading global provider of connectivity and internet services, announces that Fitch and S&P have downgraded the Company’s credit ratings to reflect new country ceilings for Ukraine and the Russian Federation. At the same time, due to the geographic diversification of VEON’s business across nine countries with a combined population of 680 million people, the Company’s credit ratings are more resilient than the sovereign ratings of Russia and Ukraine: Fitch revised VEON’s credit rating from BBB- to B+ with stable outlook on 4 March 2022, which is currently seven notches above Russia’s sovereign rating of C. While the updated Fitch rating reflects the significant deterioration of the Russian and Ukrainian operating environments in these countries, Fitch highlighted VEON’s liquidity position and geographic diversification as factors that allow a rating above Russia’s sovereign rating:
- Strong Geographic Diversification: “VEON benefits from wide geographic diversification across emerging markets…”
- Strong Liquidity: “VEON's liquidity as of end-February 2022 was strong. The management reported that the company had around USD 2.1 billion of cash of which USD 1.5 billion was held at the headquarter level.” The rating agency also state: “This was supported by USD 820 million of unutilised RCF.” The Fitch report went on to state that “the company's liquidity is sufficient to meet its obligations over the next 12 months and prepay all of its rouble and hryvnia bank debt if necessary.”
S&P’s credit rating on VEON was adjusted from BB+ to CCC+ on 10 March 2022, which is two notches above Russia’s sovereign rating. In its announcement, S&P highlighted VEON’s liquidity position as a key factor contributing to maintaining a rating two notches above Russia’s sovereign rating:
- Sound liquidity: “VEON currently has ample cash and deposits of about USD 1.5 billion held at its headquarter in Amsterdam, which is sufficient to cover liquidity uses in the next 12 months.”
On 11 March 2022, VEON announced that it concluded the repayment of a loan with VTB Bank. Following the repayment of this RUB 30 billion loan (approximately USD 259 million1), VEON’s current HQ cash and deposits amount to approximately USD 1.2 billion.
Serkan Okandan, VEON’s Chief Financial Officer, said: “While the downgrades in VEON’s credit rating by the rating agencies following the downgrade of Russia’s sovereign rating was to be expected, it is important to note that VEON’s geographic diversification and liquidity position has allowed the Group to maintain a rating above the sovereign rating of Russia.”
1Based on USD/RUB= 115.7
This press release contains “forward-looking statements”, as the phrase is defined in Section 27A of the U.S. Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Forward-looking statements are not historical facts, and include statements relating to, among other things, expectations regarding the sufficiency of VEON’s liquidity to meet its obligations over the next twelve months. Forward-looking statements are inherently subject to risks and uncertainties, many of which VEON cannot predict with accuracy and some of which VEON might not even anticipate. The forward-looking statements contained in this release speak only as of the date of this release. VEON does not undertake to publicly update, except as required by U.S. federal securities laws, any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after such date or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.
VEON is a NASDAQ and Euronext Amsterdam-listed global provider of connectivity and internet services. For more information visit: www.veon.com