Russian developers are likely to be among the worst-hit by a deteriorating financing environment, according to credit rating agency Fitch.
Fitch blamed their woes on ‘a large share of short-term debt in their liquidity profiles, their often significant operational cash outflows, limited cash-on-balance sheet and a virtual absence of meaningful committed un-drawn facility headroom’.
Julian Crush, senior director in Fitch's corporates team, said: ‘At a time when the Russian government has had to intervene to support domestic financial institutions and, with increasing question marks over the ability and appetite of all but the largest Russian domestic banks to maintain current funding levels to the real estate sector, liquidity risks associated with Russian property developers have never been higher’.
Although state-owned bank VneshEconomBank yesterday provided up to $50bn (£26bn) to help refinance Russian corporate debt, Fitch said this was short-term support rather than a long-term solution to liquidity risks in Russia.
To date, preparations by the management of some Russian development companies have been inadequate to deal with the current financing market, said Fitch.
A lack of both cash-on-balance sheet and committed undrawn facilities has meant that Russian developers are now highly exposed to the decisions of domestic and international lenders to refinance often substantial amounts of maturing short-term debt.