Revenue of Russian credit rating agencies for 2023 increased by 15.5%

Revenue of Russian credit rating agencies for 2023 increased by 15.5%

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As Kommersant found out, the revenue of Russian credit rating agencies for 2023 increased by 15.5%, and the number of clients – by 35.7%. The market is extremely consolidated, almost 90% of revenues come from the leaders – Expert RA and ACRA. The companies expect continued growth, despite a number of factors constraining demand for their services.

The revenue of four Russian credit rating agencies in 2023 increased by 15.5%, amounting to almost 1.5 billion rubles, follows from transparency reports reviewed by Kommersant. Expert RA remains the leader (695.6 million rubles, an increase of 7.3% year-on-year), ACRA is in second place (629.6 million rubles, 16.35%), followed by NKR (107.2 million rub., 58.4%) and NRA (65.7 million rub., 62.6%).

As of the end of 2023, the agencies’ clients included 1,027 rated entities, the Central Bank’s annual report states, their number increased by 35.7%. In this case, one issuer can be a client of two or more agencies at once. At the beginning of 2024, according to the Central Bank, 151 individuals had credit ratings from two agencies simultaneously, 20 individuals from three agencies, and one from all four. According to current data on official websites that Kommersant studied, at the end of March 2024, Expert RA listed 525 units in the list of issuers (including non-credit ratings), ACRA – 364, NRA – 122, NKR – 105.

Expert RA, ACRA and NKR associate revenue growth with an increase in the client base. The NRA did not answer Kommersant. ACRA and NKR did not specify the dynamics of prices for services. Expert RA assured that the cost of services in 2023 increased “slightly.” According to the general director of Expert RA, Marina Chekurova, prices are affected by “fierce competition among agencies and inflationary processes.” In 2023, the NKR and NRA ratings were included in the regulations on bank credit ratings (taken into account when choosing banks for placing funds of state corporations and companies, federal budget funds and maintaining escrow accounts).

General Director of Businessdrome Pavel Samiev notes that, in addition to the number of clients, the income of rating agencies depends, although “nonlinearly,” on the number of issues issued by issuers. “The average check depends on the size of the business. For large issuers, the cost is slightly higher,” the expert clarifies. The cost of the same services from different agencies may differ. According to a Kommersant source among their clients, prices at ACRA and Expert RA are higher than those of smaller competitors.

A credit rating is necessary if a company wants to include its securities in the quotation list of the exchange, notes Oleg Bychkov, managing partner of Prospekt AB: “There is a requirement for the rating of one (any) of the authorized rating agencies.” The regulator advocates spreading the practice of requiring issuers to have ratings from two agencies, said Vladimir Chistyukhin, First Deputy Chairman of the Bank of Russia, in February.

In the future, Mr. Samiev notes, the dynamics of agency revenue will be influenced by the demand for “regulatory ratings,” including through the introduction of new requirements for their use. The agencies themselves expect an increase in both income and client base.

A deterrent factor, clarifies ACRA General Director Vladimir Gusakov, may be “the persistence of high rates, which reduces the activity of new companies in entering the debt market and obtaining credit ratings.” Based on the results of the first quarter of 2024, the NKR observed a continuation of the growth trend in revenue and client base, “which gives reason to expect revenue growth in general in 2024,” noted the chairman of the agency’s board of directors, Kirill Lukashuk.

Ms. Chekurova believes that the main challenge for the rating business in 2024 will remain high rates. The second challenge, Marina Chekurova believes, is increased competition: “The number of businesses coming for ratings is increasing, but not at a pace that could provide us with significant growth in the future.” The third problem is increased competition for specialists. According to Ms. Chekurova, the rating business is “very specific, it employs qualified personnel, for whom the demand is not falling, but, on the contrary, is growing quite seriously.”

Olga Sherunkova

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