JCR-VIS assigns entity ratings to Shaheen Air International Limited

Karachi, September 23, 2016 (PPI-OT):JCR-VIS Credit Rating Company Limited (JCR-VIS) has assigned initial entity ratings of ‘A-/A-2’ (Single A Minus/ A-Two) to Shaheen Air International Limited (SAI). Outlook on the assigned ratings is ‘Stable’.

Overall passenger traffic in Pakistan has grown at a CAGR of 5.3% over the last five years with air travel reaching 15.1m passengers during FY15. Independent estimates project healthy growth for air traffic and corresponding growth in revenues. The aviation sector is characterized by soft barriers to entry (availability of lease financing), vulnerability to economic downturns and high adjusted leverage and cost structure (fixed, variable and regulatory costs).

Accordingly the sector carries a higher business risk. The recently announced national aviation policy has introduced a number of financial and operational requirements (fleet age, flight punctuality and regularity) which while strengthening operating environment may pose a capitalization challenge for existing operators.

The assigned ratings to SAI reflect growing market share, improving financial risk profile and favourable growth prospects. Sustained improvement in competitive positioning vis-à-vis peers in local and international operations and consolidation in financial profile will be considered credit positive. SAI’s marketing strategy as a budget airline and increasing point to point flights gives it wider access to customer base locally and internationally. This strategy would need to be monitored closely with the increasing regional competition in airline business, going forward.

Liquidity profile of the company is considered adequate in view of healthy cash flows in relation to outstanding obligations, matching working capital cycle and liquid assets carried on the balance sheet. Capitalization levels have increased on account of healthy internal capital generation. With growth in equity and repayment of debt, gearing and leverage indicators have witnessed improvement on a timeline basis.

Fleet size has witnessed an increase to 25 and is expected to grow further with the planned induction of 5 relatively new aircrafts in the ongoing fiscal year. With induction of aircrafts of relatively lower fleet age and gradual phasing out of old planes, fleet age is expected to reduce, going forward. Given the increase in fleet size, a number of new domestic and international routes are planned to be introduced. Management of competitive pressures alongwith a sound financial profile would be among the rating drivers, going forward.

For more information, contact:
Ms. Sobia Maqbool
CFA
JCR-VIS Credit Rating Company Limited
VIS House, 128/C,
25th Lane off Khayaban-e-Ittehad,
Phase VII, DHA, Karachi
Tel: +92-21-35311861-72
Fax: +92-21-35311873
Email: sobia@jcrvis.com.pk