Fitch rates Singer Finance proposed Senior Debt BBB (EXP)


Fitch Ratings has assigned Singer Finance (Lanka) PLC's (SFL; BBB(lka)/Stable) proposed senior secured redeemable debentures of up to LKR1.5bn a 'BBB(lka)(EXP)' National Long-Term expected rating.

A full list of rating actions is at the end of this rating action commentary.
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The issue will have three tranches with bullet principal repayments in the third, fourth and fifth years, with a fixed-rate coupon paid semi-annually. The debentures will be listed on the Colombo Stock Exchange.

SFL expects to use the proceeds to fund lending growth, lengthen maturities of its liabilities, and reduce structural maturity mismatches. The agency will assign a final rating to the issue subject to the receipt of final transaction documents conforming to information already received.
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KEY RATING DRIVERS NATIONAL RATINGS AND SENIOR DEBT The issue has been rated at the same level as SFL's National Long-Term rating. The debenture is secured by a primary mortgage over receivables from identified lease agreements.

Fitch has not provided any rating uplift for the collateralisation as the recovery prospects are assessed as average and comparable to those of the unsecured notes in a developing legal system.
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SFL is rated two notches below its parent, retailing company Singer (Sri Lanka) PLC (Singer; A-(lka)/Stable). This reflects Singer's majority ownership in SFL, the common Singer brand and Singer's influence on SFL's strategic direction through representation on the finance company's board. The two-notch differential also reflects SFL's limited role in the group as SFL provides financing for only a low proportion of Singer's sales.
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SFL's rating also reflects its standalone credit profile, its higher capitalisation levels compared with its peers amid modest loan growth, and its improved asset-quality metrics. RATING SENSITIVITIES NATIONAL RATINGS AND SENIOR DEBT Any changes to SFL's National Long-Term rating would impact the issues' National Long-Term rating. SFL's rating may be upgraded if there is a significant increase in its strategic importance to Singer.
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A rating upgrade could also result if SFL is able to continue to maintain its capitalisation and asset-quality metrics at levels comparable to higher-rated peers while achieving a stronger franchise relative to its higher-rated peers.
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A sustained deterioration in SFL's standalone credit profile, capitalisation and asset quality relative to similarly rated peers would result in a downgrade of SFL's standalone rating. A weakening in SFL's intrinsic strength, however, would not necessarily trigger a downgrade of its National Long-Term rating, unless Singer's National Long-Term rating or its propensity to support SFL were to weaken simultaneously.
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The rating actions are as follows: A full list of SFL's ratings follows: National Long-Term Rating: 'BBB(lka)'; Stable Outlook Outstanding senior secured debentures: 'BBB(lka)' Outstanding senior unsecured debentures: 'BBB(lka)' Proposed senior secured debenture: 'BBB(lka)(EXP)'
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