Monday, August 20, 2018

FW: RAM Ratings reaffirms UOB Malaysia’s AAA/P1 ratings

 

Published on 20 Aug 2018.

RAM Ratings has reaffirmed United Overseas Bank (Malaysia) Bhd's (UOB Malaysia or the Bank) AAA/Stable/P1 financial institution ratings (FIRs) as well as the ratings of its debt instruments (Table 1). Apart from its sturdy credit metrics, healthy funding and liquidity profile, and robust capitalisation, the ratings incorporate the Bank's strategic importance to United Overseas Bank Limited.

Table 1: UOB Malaysia's issue ratings

 

Rating

 RM1 billion Tier-2 Subordinated Bonds (2015/2025)

AA1/Stable

 RM8 billion Medium Term Notes Programme:

  • Senior Notes
  • Tier-2 Subordinated Notes

 

AAA/Stable

AA1/Stable

 

UOB Malaysia's risk management practices are underpinned by the Group's prudent and conservative stance. The Bank's asset quality is still deemed sound, although its gross impaired-loan (GIL) ratio crept up to 1.8% as at end-March 2018 (end-December 2017: 1.7%) on the back of some weakening that was largely confined to a handful of borrowers which had already been monitored closely. The credit quality of UOB Malaysia's household financing segments remained steady. We continue to derive comfort from UOB Malaysia's highly collaterised portfolio and comfortable GIL coverage ratio, which stood at 100% as at end-March 2018.  

Despite larger impairment charges in fiscal 2017, UOB Malaysia recorded a higher pre-tax profit of RM1.52 billion (fiscal 2016: RM1.47 billion) on the back of its strong financing growth in the previous year. In tandem, its return on risk-weighted assets edged up to 2.8% (fiscal 2016: 2.7%) while its net interest margin remained stable at 2.1% (fiscal 2016: 2.1%). The Bank's funding and liquidity profile stayed healthy, with liquidity coverage and net stable funding ratios of above 100%. UOB Malaysia's capitalisation is among the highest in the industry, its respective common equity tier-1 and total capital ratios coming in at 15.3% and 18.6% as at end-March 2018.


Analytical contact
Choong Andrea
(603) 7628 1115
andrea@ram.com.my

Media contact
Padthma Subbiah
(603) 7628 1162
padthma@ram.com.my

 

 

 

 

 

FW: AAM News: Taiwan’s PSPF grants US$1 billion funding for two global mandates

 

 

 

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FW: CAPITAL FLOWS, RENMINBI & THE RINGGIT TREND

 

 

 

Dear Sir/Madam,

 

We are pleased to inform you that we have published a report entitledCapital Flows, Renminbi & the Ringgit trend on our website which can be accessed via the link below:

 

 

We trust you will find this report informative.

 

 

Warm regards,

 

Malaysian Rating Corporation Berhad (364803-V)

19-07, Level 19, Q Sentral, 2A Jalan Stesen Sentral 2

Kuala Lumpur Sentral, 50470 Kuala Lumpur

Tel :  +603 2717 2900 | Fax :  +603 2717 2910

Email :  marc@marc.com.my   Website : www.marc.com.my

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE:
The information contained in this email and/or any attachment hereto is strictly confidential and privileged. If you are not the intended recipient, and/or have received this email in error, you must not copy, disseminate or disclose the contents of this message and/or any attachment to any other person. Please notify the sender and delete this message and any attachment from your system. Malaysian Rating Corporation Berhad (“MARC”) accepts no liability in respect of prohibited and unauthorised use by an unintended addressee or recipient. Any opinion, view or other information in this message and/or any attachment hereto which does not relate to the official business of MARC is that of the individual sender. Although this email and/or any attachment is believed to be free of any virus or other defect which may affect any computer system into which it is received and opened, it is the responsibility of the recipient to ensure that it is virus-free and MARC accepts no responsibility for any loss or damage arising in any way from the use thereof.

 

Thursday, August 16, 2018

FW: RAM Ratings reaffirms AAA/stable rating of Sabah Government’s RM1.0 billion bonds

 

 

Published on 15 Aug 2018.

RAM Ratings has reaffirmed the rating of the State Government of Sabah's RM1.0 billion Bonds (2014/2019) at AAA/stable. The rating is based on the Constitution of Malaysia's requirement that any state government borrowing be subject to the approval of the Federal Government. Although we do not consider federal government approval to be a direct guarantee, such an endorsement underscores the government's implicit support and reflects its role as the lender of last resort in the spirit of the federation. As the Bonds had been issued with the approval of the Ministry of Finance, the issue rating reflects the Federal Government's long-term rating. In line with RAM's rating criteria and methodology, Rating Malaysian State Governments, we have also analysed Sabah's economic and budgetary performance, which remains strong and continues to bolster its debt-servicing ability. 

The State Government of Sabah enjoys a supportive relationship with the Federal Government due to its economic importance to the latter. The uptrend in the state's crude oil production subsequent to the Malikai, Gumusut Kakap and Kebabangan fields commencing operations, emphasises its significance. Sabah is also the top crude palm oil producing state in Malaysia, with an output of 5.2 million tonnes in 2017 (2016: 4.8 million tonnes) or 26% of the country's total production. "Despite the change in federal and state governments, their friendly ties should ease coordination and align policy directions," notes Esther Lai, RAM's Head of Sovereign Ratings.

Sabah's higher revenue adjustment capacity compared to states in Peninsular Malaysia, is another rating positive. Apart from yearly oil royalty payments from Petronas, additional revenue sources accorded by the Constitution made up 38% of the state's revenue in 2017 (RM1.6 billion). Pending any review of the Malaysia Agreement 1963 and Sabah's 20% oil royalty claim, the state shall continue to receive current federal government grants and allocations. We have not factored any potential extra revenue into the state's financials as negotiations will be lengthy. In any case, a recovery in commodity prices had boosted the government's revenue and widened its fiscal surplus in 2017. Although higher operating expenses are expected in 2018 owing to larger social and welfare payments and appropriation of the State Development Fund, a surplus budget of more than RM64.9 million could be achieved.

 

Analytical contact
Lynette Lee
(603) 7628 1182
lynette@ram.com.my

Media contact
Padthma Subbiah
(603) 7628 1162
padthma@ram.com.my

 

 

 

 

 

FW: RAM Ratings reaffirms P1 rating of AEON Credit’s RM 1 billion ICP Programme

 

Published on 15 Aug 2018.

RAM Ratings has reaffirmed the P1 rating of AEON Credit Service (M) Berhad's (AEON Credit or the Company) RM1 billion Islamic CP Programme. The reaffirmation is premised on our expectation of forthcoming support from its ultimate parent, AEON Co., Ltd. (AEON Co or the Group), given the Company's complementary fit in the Group's wider strategy of expanding and diversifying its revenue base in Asia. In the latest financial year, the Company contributed around 16% of the pre-tax profit of AEON Financial Service Co., Ltd. – its immediate parent and the financial services arm of the Group.

AEON Credit possesses an established franchise in the domestic consumer financing market. The Company expanded by 11% in FY Feb 2018 (FY Feb 2017: +19%), with growth largely stemming from its three main segments – personal, automobile and motorcycle financing. 

AEON Credit's robust profitability is anchored by its lucrative net interest margin (NIM), which stood at 12.6% in FY Feb 2018, albeit on a narrowing trend as the Company broadens its customer base to include the middle-income segment, in addition to its primarily low-income customers. Its return on assets and return of equity, which clocked in at a respective 5.3% and 31.4% in the same period, are still among the highest of that of domestic non-bank financial institutions. AEON Credit's broad NIM also affords its some flexibility in managing credit costs. The Company's credit cost ratio of 3.3% in FY Feb 2018 while high, has been stabilising over the years, despite a sizeable proportion of lower-income borrowers. 

As a non-deposit taking entity, AEON Credit is inherently dependent on external borrowings to fund its operations. That said, the Company's cash balances and unutilised committed credit lines sufficiently cover its short-term borrowings. Due to a RM432 million rights issuance, AEON Credit's gearing ratio had substantially declined to 3.7 times as at end-February 2018 from a high 6.5 times the year before (with perpetual securities deemed to be borrowings instead of equity). Additional provisions upon the adoption of Malaysian Financial Reporting Standards 9, however, had caused gearing to ascend slightly to 4.4 times as at end-February 2018, albeit still at a manageable level. 

 

Analytical contact
Liang Huey Jean
(603) 7628 1124
jean@ram.com.my

Media contact
Padthma Subbiah
(603) 7628 1162
padthma@ram.com.my

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

FW: RAM Ratings reaffirms Krung Thai Bank’s issue ratings on firm government support

 

Published on 14 Aug 2018.

RAM Ratings has reaffirmed the AA1/Stable rating of Krung Thai Bank Public Company Limited's (KTB or the Group) Proposed Senior MTN Programme, as well as the AA2/Stable rating of its Tier-2 Subordinated Notes Programme (2015/2045). Both programmes have a combined limit of RM5 billion. 

The ratings incorporate our expectation of a high likelihood of support from the government of Thailand (GoT), rated AA1(pi)/Stable/P1(pi). The Kingdom's third-largest lender (by gross loans and deposits), the Group is designated as a domestic systemically important bank (D-SIB). KTB is 55%-owned by the Financial Institutions Development Fund (a unit of the Bank of Thailand), making it the only commercial bank in the country that is majority-owned by the government.  

KTB's funding profile benefits from its extensive branch network and close relationships with the GoT and state-owned enterprises. The Group's strong deposit funding capabilities are evidenced by its large base of current and savings account deposits, which make up more than 70% of customer deposits. In addition, KTB's Basel III liquidity coverage ratio and net stable funding ratio are both well above 100%. The Group's loans-to-deposits ratio stood at 89% as at end-June 2018. 

KTB's asset quality has been deteriorating since 2015. Its gross impaired-loan (GIL) ratio had increased further to 5.6% as at end-June 2018 (end-December 2016: 4.8%), having been affected by a lumpy default and the rice-milling segment in 2017. The Group made full provision against the lumpy exposure, resulting in an elevated credit-cost ratio of 2.2% in 2017 (2016: 1.7%), which had retreated to a still-high 1.4% (annualised) in 1H fiscal 2018. As economic recovery in Thailand remains uneven, some asset quality pressure is likely to linger. On balance, KTB's hefty provisioning had kept its GIL coverage ratio at a sound 124% as at end-June 2018.

Substantial impairment charges caused KTB's pre-tax profit to plunge 29% from THB41 billion to THB29 billion in fiscal 2017, translating into a return on risk-weighted assets of only 1.4% (fiscal 2016: 2.0%). While pre-tax profit came in higher y-o-y at THB20 billion in 1H fiscal 2018 (1H fiscal 2017: THB15 billion) due to a low-base effect (the aforementioned lumpy provision was incurred in 1H fiscal 2017), it still faces earnings headwinds from a lower reference lending rate (since May 2017) and fee waiver for certain electronic transactions (since March 2018).

KTB's Basel III common equity tier-1 capital ratio had been further strengthened to 13.4% as at end-December 2017 (end-December 2016: 12.4%), which provides a strong buffer against potential slippage in asset quality. This ratio is also comfortably above the final regulatory requirement of 8%, which includes a 1% surcharge for D-SIBs. 

 

Analytical contact
Lim Yu Cheng, CFA, FRM
(603) 7628 1188
yucheng@ram.com.my

Media contact
Padthma Subbiah
(603) 7628 1162
padthma@ram.com.my

 

 

 

 

FW: RAM Ratings places Sarawak Energy’s issue rating on positive outlook

 

Published on 14 Aug 2018.

RAM Ratings has revised to positive from stable the outlook on the AA1 rating of Sarawak Energy Berhad's (SEB or the Group) RM15 billion Sukuk Musyarakah Programme (2011/2036). The positive outlook reflects a strong uptrend in SEB's electricity sales, which if maintained, is expected to lead to improvements in the Group's credit metric indicators. Increased sales were complemented by cost savings following the acquisition of Sarawak Hidro Sdn Bhd, effective 16 August 2017, which in turn owns the Bakun hydroelectricity plant. 

The issue rating reflects SEB's healthy financial performance, along with continued strong support that the Group enjoys from the Sarawak and federal governments, given its monopoly over the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity in the state and, hence, its pivotal role in the Sarawak Corridor of Renewable Energy (SCORE). The Group, in our view, benefits from a "very high" likelihood of extraordinary governmental support in the event of financial distress, based on our rating methodology for government-linked entities.

The SCORE at the Samalaju Park has passed its infancy stage and the Park's bulk customers have progressively commissioned and ramped up demand. As a result, SEB's electricity sales climbed a sturdy 14.8% y-o-y in 2017 and another 12.4% y-o-y in 1H 2018, largely attributable to OM Materials (Sarawak) Sdn Bhd, Pertama Ferroalloys Sdn Bhd and Press Metal Berhad's Phase 3 plant. SEB's electricity sales are anticipated to continue to grow in tandem with existing customers' plant expansions as well as the commissioning of new plants such as that of PMB Silicon Sdn Bhd, which signed a power purchase agreement with the Group in 2017. 

Subsequent to SEB gaining ownership of the Bakun plant, profits of Sarawak Hidro are retained within the Group. Despite the acquisition of Sarawak Hidro, SEB's total debt expanded only slightly to RM19.86 billion as at end-2017 (total adjusted debt as at end-2016: RM19.04 billion) as RAM had already considered capacity payment obligations to Sarawak Hidro as part of the Group's total adjusted debt prior to the purchase. 

Even after considering SEB's capacity expansion plans under Phase 2 of the Samalaju Park, we expect the Group's cash generation to continue to trend upwards, resulting in a higher funds from operations debt coverage ratio (FFODC) of 0.14 times and 0.15 times in FY Dec 2018 and FY Dec 2019, respectively (past three-year average of adjusted FFODC: 0.10 times). Additionally, an enlarged equity base arising from profits retained over the years would lead to improved gearing of 2.19 times and 1.86 times as at end-2018 and end-2019, respectively (past three-year average of adjusted gearing: 2.75 times).  

The rating continues to be moderated by the demand risk that SEB faces, considering that progressive take-up by bulk customers is dependent on the completion of their facilities and their financial viability. The Group is also exposed to customer concentration risk as bulk off-takers create lumpiness in demand growth. Press Metal's facilities in Sarawak accounted for 41% of SEB's total energy sales (or 31% in ringgit terms) in 1H 2018. The Group is susceptible to power supply concentration risk as 52% of the state's installed capacity emanates from the 2,400-MW Bakun plant, although this reliance has been moderated since the completion of the 944-MW Murum hydropower plant in June 2015. Ownership of the Bakun plant allows SEB full access to and control over its operations, providing more certainty over security of electricity supply from the plant. The Group's plant-ups over the next decade are expected to further reduce supply concentration risk.

 

Analytical contact
Chin Wynn, CFA
(603) 7628 1170
chinwynn@ram.com.my

Media contact
Padthma Subbiah
(603) 7628 1162
padthma@ram.com.my

 

 

 

 

FW: RAM Ratings reaffirms SPR Energy’s AA3/Stable sukuk rating

 

Published on 14 Aug 2018.

RAM Ratings has reaffirmed the AA3/Stable rating of SPR Energy (M) Sdn Bhd's (SPR or the Company) Senior Sukuk Ijarah of RM580 million (the Sukuk). The rating reflects the Company's healthy project fundamentals, underscored by its stable cashflow. 

While the performance of its power plant (the Plant) came within RAM's sensitivity analysis in 2017, several operational challenges in the first five months of this year, particularly the leakages at one of its gas pipelines, had stretched its rolling unscheduled outage rate (UOR) beyond our expectations to 10.90% as at end-May 2018 (end-December 2017: 5.14%; PPA requirement is not to exceed 4%). This had resulted in greater-than-expected available capacity payment (ACP) reductions, which accounted for approximately 5% of its total revenue in 5M 2018 (FY Dec 2017: 2% of total revenue).  

While the issues have since been rectified, we continue to assume several key sensitivities, including high outages in the next two years and lower capacity factors. Based on our sensitised cashflow projections, SPR's debt-servicing ability is expected to stay healthy, with anticipated minimum finance service coverage ratios (FSCRs) (with cash balances, post distribution, calculated on payment dates) of 1.50 times throughout the remaining tenure of the Senior Sukuk. Stricter distribution covenants via a projected FSCR of at least 1.60 times and an additional distribution-restriction period are expected to support the Company's cash retention. RAM assumes SPR will adhere to its financial covenants on a forward-looking basis throughout the transaction's tenure, as opposed to only in the year of assessment. 

Notably, the PPA's requirements in the event of non-performance are more stringent compared to those of other IPPs, particularly in respect of an immediate penalty for breaching the stipulated unscheduled outage limit. SPR is also exposed to fuel supply risk given that the Plant's arrangement for the supply of natural gas provides supply on a firm basis for only 15 years, although we derive comfort from Sabah's substantial gas reserves. As the mechanism of risk transfer to General Electric (GE), the Plant's operation and maintenance operator, does not mirror the PPA, any ACP shortfall may not be fully compensated by liquidated damages drawing some concern. That said, the appointment of GE provides comfort in terms of addressing operational risk given its extensive experience in the power sector.

 

Analytical contact
Nurhayati Sulaiman
(608) 7628 1040
yati@ram.com.my

Media contact
Padthma Subbiah
(603) 7628 1162
padthma@ram.com.my

 

 

 

 

FW: Monthly Bond Market and Rating Snapshot - July 2018

 

 

Dear Sir/Madam,

 

We are pleased to inform you that we have published a report entitled “Monthly Bond Market and Rating Snapshot for July 2018on our website which can be accessed via the link below:

 

 

We trust you will find this report informative.

 

Warm regards,

 

Malaysian Rating Corporation Berhad (364803-V)

19-07, Level 19, Q Sentral, 2A Jalan Stesen Sentral 2

Kuala Lumpur Sentral, 50470 Kuala Lumpur

Tel :  +603 2717 2900 | Fax :  +603 2717 2910

Email :  marc@marc.com.my   Website : www.marc.com.my

 

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE:
The information contained in this email and/or any attachment hereto is strictly confidential and privileged. If you are not the intended recipient, and/or have received this email in error, you must not copy, disseminate or disclose the contents of this message and/or any attachment to any other person. Please notify the sender and delete this message and any attachment from your system. Malaysian Rating Corporation Berhad (“MARC”) accepts no liability in respect of prohibited and unauthorised use by an unintended addressee or recipient. Any opinion, view or other information in this message and/or any attachment hereto which does not relate to the official business of MARC is that of the individual sender. Although this email and/or any attachment is believed to be free of any virus or other defect which may affect any computer system into which it is received and opened, it is the responsibility of the recipient to ensure that it is virus-free and MARC accepts no responsibility for any loss or damage arising in any way from the use thereof.

 

FW: MARC AFFIRMS THE STATE OF KUWAIT’S SOVEREIGN RATING AT AAA

 

 

 

P R E S S  A N N O U N C E M E N T

                       

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

 

MARC AFFIRMS THE STATE OF KUWAIT'S SOVEREIGN RATING AT AAA

 

 

MARC has affirmed its public information foreign currency sovereign rating of AAA/stable on Kuwait, based on its national rating scale. The rating reflects Kuwait's stable economic system that is supported by large oil reserves, large financial buffers, as well as a strong external balance sheet. Its rating strengths are, however, tempered by the economy's dependence on oil and weak governance and institutions. Kuwait's stable outlook is based on assumptions that oil prices will continue to recover, albeit gradually, and that its fiscal and external buffers will not suffer any significant deterioration over the medium term. We also assume that the government remains committed to its reform efforts, and that regional security issues will not worsen significantly. We are, nevertheless, cautious on the outlook because of elevated global tensions arising from ongoing geopolitical and geoeconomic rebalancing.

 

Kuwait is among the world's richest countries. Its rating is underpinned by its substantial proven crude oil reserves that are expected to last more than 80 years. With large financial buffers and a sound financial sector, it has one of the oldest and most financially stable economic systems in the region. Economic prospects have improved with the partial recovery of oil prices. The current series of five-year development plans aim to, among other things, transform the state into a financial and trade centre by 2035, with the private sector playing the lead role.

 

The government's substantial financial buffers are important rating supports. Kuwait's sovereign wealth fund, the Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA), is estimated to manage assets equivalent to about 470% of gross domestic product (GDP). Meanwhile, Kuwait's gross public debt remains low, though it has risen recently because of deficit financing after oil prices collapsed in 2014. With oil prices in recovery mode, fiscal performance should improve as it has a low fiscal breakeven oil price (2017: USD46.9 per barrel), the lowest among the Gulf Cooperation Council member countries. 

 

Another rating support is Kuwait's strong external balance sheet, thanks to persistent current account (CA) surpluses. Its CA surpluses over the 2012-2017 period, for example, had averaged 21.9% of GDP. As a result, Kuwait is a net international creditor. Its net international investment position as of end-2017 stood at USD114.4 billion, equivalent to 95.3% of GDP. Meanwhile, Kuwait's international reserves as of end-2017 stood at USD31.8 billion, enough to cover 6.7 months of imports of goods and services. This figure does not include KIA-managed external assets, which also serve as a buffer to external shocks.

 

The rating takes cognisance of Kuwait's continued high dependence on oil. Lower oil prices have affected its fiscal and external balances and budget financing needs have emerged. The economy, largely state-led because of high oil dependency, faces declining productivity and low job creation. The results of government efforts to diversify revenue and economic activity have been relatively insubstantial because of weak governance and institutions, as well as a poor doing business environment. A case in point: Kuwait's five-year development plan (2010-2014), its first since 1986, had implemented less than 57% of the allocated budget.

 

Kuwait's rating is tempered by relatively weak governance and institutions. Lowly ranked in the World Bank's Worldwide Governance Indicators project, it is not surprising that bureaucratic delays remain an important issue. In the World Bank's Doing Business 2018 report, it was ranked at a lowly number 96 out of 190 economies. In addition, tensions from persistent domestic political wrangling could spell further trouble for much needed economic reforms. The political stalemate and continuous gridlock have resulted in numerous cabinet reshuffles, with implications for policymaking and implementation, and hence long-term prosperity.

 

 

Contacts: Quah Boon Huat, +603-2717 2931/ boonhuat@marc.com.my; Nor Zahidi Alias, +603-2717 2936/ zahidi@marc.com.my.

 

August 13, 2018

 

 

[This announcement is available in MARC's corporate homepage at http://www.marc.com.my]

----   DISCLAIMER    ----

This communication is provided by Malaysian Rating Corporation Berhad (MARC) on the basis of information believed by MARC to be accurate and reliable as derived from publicly available sources or provided by the rated entity or its agents. MARC, however, has not independently verified such information and makes no representation as to the accuracy or completeness of such information. Any assignment of a credit rating by MARC is solely to be construed as a statement of its opinion and not a statement of fact. A credit rating is not a recommendation to buy, sell, or hold any security.

 

© 2018 Malaysian Rating Corporation Berhad

 

IMPORTANT NOTICE:
The information contained in this email and/or any attachment hereto is strictly confidential and privileged. If you are not the intended recipient, and/or have received this email in error, you must not copy, disseminate or disclose the contents of this message and/or any attachment to any other person. Please notify the sender and delete this message and any attachment from your system. Malaysian Rating Corporation Berhad ("MARC") accepts no liability in respect of prohibited and unauthorised use by an unintended addressee or recipient. Any opinion, view or other information in this message and/or any attachment hereto which does not relate to the official business of MARC is that of the individual sender. Although this email and/or any attachment is believed to be free of any virus or other defect which may affect any computer system into which it is received and opened, it is the responsibility of the recipient to ensure that it is virus-free and MARC accepts no responsibility for any loss or damage arising in any way from the use thereof.

 

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