New Delhi: Ratings agency Moody’s Investors Service Friday assigned ‘Baa3’ rating to the proposed senior unsecured bonds of Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited (APSEZ). APSEZ will apply the proceeds of the USD bond issuance to capital expenditure, refinancing part of existing indebtedness and other permissible uses under the external commercial borrowings guidelines.
“APSEZ’s Baa3 issuer rating primarily reflects the company’s strong market position as the largest port developer and operator in India by cargo volume, and the strength of its landmark Mundra Port concession in Gujarat,” the company said in a statement.
The Baa3 issuer rating is also predicated on the company continuing to execute its various projects within time and cost budgets, while adhering to regulatory approval processes to minimize the risk of future difficulties. The issuer rating and the ratings of APSEZ’s existing senior unsecured bonds remain unchanged at Baa3, the statement said, adding the outlook on the ratings is stable. “The bonds will represent a senior unsecured obligation and will rank equally with all of APSEZ’s existing and future unsecured and unsubordinated indebtedness,” it said.
The company said given the ranking of the USD bonds are pari passu to all of APSEZ’s existing and future unsecured and unsubordinated debt, the rating of these bonds follow that of its existing senior unsecured bonds issued in 2015 and 2017, respectively. APSEZ reported a strong 13 per cent year-on-year growth in container traffic in fiscal 2019 (the 12 months ended March 31, 2019). Such traffic contributed 41 per cent of the total cargo handled by APSEZ during the same period.
Moody’s said it expects that APSEZ’s performance will be driven by the ramp up capacity relating to its recently commissioned ports and terminals, and further increase in share of containers, with the addition of new terminals to its portfolio. Moody’s is unlikely to upgrade the ratings in the near term, given the company’s business profile and financial strategy, the statement said.
However, Moody’s could downgrade the ratings if cargo volumes decline, resulting in the company’s financial metrics deteriorating beyond the parameters of its Baa3 ratings category. APSEZ is the largest port developer and operator in India when measured by volume, with coal and other dry bulk terminals showing an annual capacity of 378 million tonnes.