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Fitch said in a press release: "This latest round of corporate governance issues at TNK-BP could be an indication that the partnership may be in difficulty. The agency does not view this latest dispute as having an immediate impact on the company’s creditors, for example, through the disruption of coupon or interest payments. While Fitch is not taking any rating action now, clearer messages about how the company will be managed from now on are needed to prevent possible negative rating action.

"Ineffective corporate governance is the agency’s main concern. TNK-BP’s board of directors has not met since December 2011 as it lacked quorum after two independent directors resigned. Fitch acknowledges the appointment of an independent director on 21 May 2012; but nonetheless, still views the effectiveness of TNK-BP’s board of directors as weak under Fitch’s ‘Evaluating Corporate Governance’ Criteria. When looking at issuer-specific governance characteristics, the agency focuses on overall board and management effectiveness.

"Fitch is concerned that the latest CEO resignation is a sign that the company’s shareholders and management are facing a crisis. TNK-BP stated in a press release dated 28 May 2012 that following Mikhail Fridman’s resignation it will be managed by a group of executives who hold powers of attorney related to their areas of responsibility. While this may be an effective interim measure, it is unlikely to be sustainable in the medium to long-term and not commensurate with the long-term governance practices of an investment grade company in Fitch’s view.

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