OREANDA-NEWS. On 07 May 2008 CenterTelecom OJSC reported that Standard & Poors Ratings Services (S&P) had affirmed its long-term credit rating on the company at "+", changing the outlook from Positive to Stable. S&P has also affirmed CenterTelecom's "ruA+" rating on the Russia national scale.

According to S&Ps experts, the change in outlook reflects S&Ps opinion on a possible increase in CenterTelecom's financial leverage to levels exceeding earlier expectations as a consequence of increased capital investments.

According to S&Ps specialists, the companys ratings are supported by its position as a basic operator with a wide network within Russias Central district and last-mile access to 6.7 million subscribers. The analysts also point out that a 39% increase in EBITDA efficiency for 2007 confirms CenterTelecoms success in optimizing its operations and increasing its effectiveness. The analysts believe that the positive dynamics in efficiency are primarily attributable to the companys success in headcount reduction, implementation of strict cost controls and the gradual increase in share of income from higher value-added services.

We expect that CenterTelecom will continue to maintain these positive dynamics in its operating performance and diversification of its income basis and to raise efficiency. We think that the company can increase its capital investments avoiding a considerable decline in its financial performance, said Alexander Griaznov, Credit Analyst, Standard & Poor's.