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Fitch rates Singer’s proposed debenture issue A-(lka)(EXP)


Dec 16, 2015 (LBO) – Fitch Ratings has assigned Singer Sri Lanka's proposed unsecured senior debenture issue of up to 3 billion rupees, a National Long-Term Rating of 'A-(lka)(EXP)'. The full rating statement is reproduced below. Fitch Ratings has assigned Singer Sri Lanka PLC's (Singer; A-(lka)/Stable) proposed unsecured senior debenture issue of up to LKR3bn a National Long-Term Rating of 'A-(lka)(EXP)'. The debentures are likely to have a three-year tenor with a fixed coupon. The proceeds of the proposed issue will be used to refinance existing debt, restructure short-term debt and for working capital requirements. The debentures are rated at the same level as Singer's National Long-Term Rating of 'A-(lka)' because they represent senior unsecured obligations of the company and would rank equally with the company's other senior unsecured debt. The final rating is subject to the receipt of final documents conforming to information already received. KEY RATING DRIVERS Leading Consumer Durables Retailer: Singer's position as a leading consumer durables retailer is supported by its extensive distribution network, multi-brand strategy, and robust after-sales service. Improved Operating Environment: Demand for consumer durables is likely to be sustained over the medium term by increases in public-sector salaries in February 2015, lower income-tax rates for private-sector employees introduced in November 2015 and reduced pricing on essential items, including fuel and electricity. Proposed Restructuring: Fitch believes that the proposed acquisition of domestic consumer durable manufacturers Regnis (Lanka) PLC and Singer Industries Ceylon PLC from its direct parent Singer (Sri Lanka) B.V is likely to have a neutral impact on Singer's rating, based on the finalised transaction prices. Cyclical Demand, Currency Risk: Singer's earnings are subject to business cycles, due to the non-essential nature of the company's products and price volatility. Prices and profitability are also sensitive to foreign-exchange fluctuations as most of the inventory is imported. KEY ASSUMPTIONS Fitch's key assumptions within the rating case for the issuer include: - Revenue to increase due to improved consumer purchasing power. - EBITDAR margins to settle in the high-single digit range in the medium term due to increased contribution from low-margin IT and communication products - Proposed acquisitions are valued at LKR1.4bn and are likely to be completed by end-2015 RATING SENSITIVITIES Negative: Future developments that may, individually or collectively, lead to a negative rating action include: - A sustained increase in Singer's leverage (measured as adjusted net debt/EBITDAR excluding Singer Finance) to over 5.5x (3Q15: 4.13x) - EBITDA margin sustained below 7% (Nine months ending September 2015: 7.4%) - A material weakening in Singer's (company-level) liquidity profile - A material weakening of the credit profile of Singer's 80% subsidiary, Singer Finance (Lanka) PLC (BBB(lka)/Stable), given strong linkages between the entities Positive: Future developments that may individually or collectively lead to a positive rating action include: - Singer's leverage falling below 4.5x on a sustained basis - EBITDA margin sustained above 10% LIQUIDITY As at end-September 2015, Singer had LKR1.3bn of unrestricted cash and LKR7.0bn of committed but unutilised credit lines to meet debt obligations of LKR6.6bn falling due in the next 12 months.      
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