Emerging Markets: Sizing Up Debt’s Evil Twins — Barron’s
By Craig Mellow (Jan. 26, 2015)
Petroleo Brasilieiro, better known as Petrobras, and Gazprom are terribly managed companies at the heart of the less-than-brilliantly-run economies of Brazil and Russia, respectively. Both have huge debts, which have become tougher to repay, thanks to diving energy prices and internal factors — a corruption scandal that is paralyzing Petrobras, and international sanctions that are keeping Gazprom out of bond markets.
But could either of these national champions actually default? Not likely, and that may spell opportunity for fixed-income investors who can hold their governance noses. “These credits are priced at distressed levels, while we foresee that they will repay,” says Max Wolman, senior investment manager at Aberdeen Asset Management in Scotland. “We are buying selectively.”