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  • Uzbekistan gold mining giant Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Company assigned its inaugural international credit rating

    Sat July 06 2024

    Uzbekistan gold mining giant Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Company (NMMC) has been assigned its inaugural international credit rating by S&P Global Ratings. The company received a long-term credit rating of 'BB-' with a 'Stable' outlook, matching Uzbekistan’s sovereign credit rating, the company said in an emailed press release on July 5.

    Uzbekistan’s Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Combine (NMMC) ranked fifth among the world's top gold producers in 1H23, according to Canadian trade media outlet Kitco.

    In the rating process, S&P Global Ratings also evaluated NMMC’s stand-alone credit profile (SACP) at 'bb+', the highest grade ever given to a company from Uzbekistan.

    “Uzbekistan-based Navoi Mining and Metallurgical Co. (NMMC) is the world's fourth-largest gold producer with 2.9mn ounces (moz) of output in 2023,” S&P Global Ratings stated. The agency highlighted NMMC’s low production costs, extensive reserves, and conservative leverage metrics, with funds from operations (FFO) to debt consistently above 60%.

    At the end of 2023, NMMC's total cash cost (TCC) for gold production was $745 per ounce, one of the lowest among companies assessed by S&P Global Ratings. The agency predicts that favourable gold prices will support NMMC’s high operational and financial performance in the coming years.

    Eugeny Antonov, First Deputy CEO for Transformation at NMMC, commented on the rating: “Securing the Company's first international credit rating marks an important milestone in the development of one of the largest enterprises in Uzbekistan. It broadens access to international capital markets, enhances the Company’s global reputation, and validates the successful implementation of reforms and the ongoing transformation within our country and the Company itself. The assignment of an S&P Global Ratings stand-alone credit profile (SACP) assessment at the level of ‘bb+’ is an historic event for enterprises in the Republic of Uzbekistan. It confirms the Company’s stable financial strategy and the high level of confidence that international financial market participants have in the Company’s plans for future development.”

    The company is the biggest contributor to the Uzbek budget and a major employer in Uzbekistan, contributing 6.3% to the country’s GDP. Uzbekistan, the fastest-growing economy in the region, recorded a GDP growth rate of 5.5%. The nation is currently undergoing comprehensive structural reforms to promote economic diversification and liberalisation. In line with this national reform agenda, NMMC is undergoing significant transformation to adopt international best practices across its operations.

    Uzbekistan's President Shavkat Mirziyoyev has previously noted plans under which, by 2030, 19 projects worth $3.8bn will be implemented at NMMC, with gold production to expand by one and a half times, to 155 tonnes per year.

    Mirziyoyev has also called for NNMC to be privatised with an IPO that he would like to see happen next year. As the company told bne IntelliNews in an interview in 2021 with the CEO it is almost ready but waiting for the government to pull the trigger.

    Uzbekistan has already complete privatised its cotton sector and is in the process of liberalising the rest of the economy, which has fuelled multi-year 6% GDP growth.