Press Release

VIS Reaffirms Ratings of Attock Cement Pakistan Limited
 

Karachi, October 24, 2019: VIS Credit Rating Company Limited has reaffirmed entity ratings of Attock Cement Pakistan Limited (‘ACPL’ or ‘the Company’) at ‘A+/A-1’ (Single A Plus/A-One). Outlook on the assigned ratings is ‘Stable’. The previous rating action was announced on June 12, 2018.

The ratings assigned to ACPL take into account the Company’s sizable market share in the South region, strong capitalization and limited leveraging. Weakening in profitability indicators has been noted, albeit these still trend above the peer median. Business risk is viewed as higher, given weak pace of growth in local despatches amidst the prevailing economic slowdown. The ratings have also taken into account an element of sponsor support, given single largest shareholding of the Company rests with Pharaon Investment Group Limited Holding S.A.L. (PIGL), which is a diversified business group with presence in Middle East, Europe and Africa.

The cement industry is going through an expansionary cycle whereby 10.7m tonnes have been added during the past 2 years and 16m tonnes are in the pipeline to be installed over the next 2 years. However on the demand side, rupee devaluation and rising inflation has kept construction activity condensed, resulting in a slowdown in industry despatches. Given the current economic scenario, VIS does not expect any major uptick in total local despatches over the short to medium term to absorb the incremental supply. On the other hand, excess supply, rupee devaluation and additional taxation (FED) have kept margins of industry players under pressure.

Despite a difficult operating environment for the cement industry, ACPL posted 29% growth in despatches in 2019, largely supported by clinker and cement exports. The export driven growth did not bode well for the margins, given that margins in the domestic market are higher. On the contrary, the exports did allow the Company to maintain capacity utilization on the higher end, at 110%. Other constraints on profitability margins included input costs pressures, higher price competition and rising financial cost.

Liquidity indicators have been impacted on account of smaller cash flow, albeit they still compare favorably to peers. Furthermore, sizeable increase in borrowing costs has slightly constrained debt servicing ability, albeit it is relatively considered adequate. Given a prudent dividend payout strategy, we expect the low leverage capital structure to be maintained.

For further information on this rating announcement, please contact the undersigned (Ext: 201) or Mr. Jamal Abbas Zaidi (Ext: 207) at 35311861-70 (10 lines) or fax to 35311873.




Javed Callea
Advisor

Applicable Rating Criteria: Industrial Corporates (May 2016)
http://www.vis.com.pk/docs/Corporate-Methodology-201605.pdf

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Information herein was obtained from sources believed to be accurate and reliable; however, VIS Credit Rating Company Limited (VIS) does not guarantee the accuracy, adequacy or completeness of any information and is not responsible for any errors or omissions or for the results obtained from the use of such information.VIS , the analysts involved in the rating process and members of its rating committee do not have any conflict of interest relating to the rating(s)/ranking(s) mentioned in this report.VIS is not an NRSRO and its credit ratings are not NRSRO credit ratings.VIS is paid a fee for most rating assignments. This rating/ranking is an opinion and is not a recommendation to buy or sell any securities. Copyright 2019 VIS Credit Rating Company Limited . All rights reserved. Contents may be used by news media with credit to VIS .

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