PACRA Upgrades Entity Ratings of Pakistan National Shipping Corporation
The ratings reflect PNSC's strong ownership - majority owned by Government of Pakistan - and its strategic significance as the country's flag carrier. On a stand-alone basis, PNSC’s business profile has gained significant strength in recent years as exhibited by continuous improvement in business margins on account of efficient fleet utilization, better pricing strategy, and cost management measures taken by the management. The company is currently catering increasing business volumes through chartered-hire vessels. Considering the volatility in margins, the company aims to increase its own fleet size by acquiring two vessels – Aframax and Long-range I. The expansion also includes acquisition of two ferries. These expansions are expected to result in improved revenue base and higher margins, in turn, further fortification in business profile of the company. The acquisition of new vessels would be majorly financed through debt; thus higher leveraging. This would burden the financial profile; however, improving cash flows from existing business coupled with expectation of additional high margin business to be catered by new vessels is likely to generate commensurate cashflows to support debt service coverages. This, along-with on-balance sheet liquidity, supports overall risk profile of the company.
The ratings are dependent on the Corporation's ability to generate envisaged cash flows post-expansion. Meanwhile, proactive management of financial profile while improving coverages remains important.
PNSC, majority (85.16%) owned by the Government of Pakistan (GoP) through Ministry of Ports and Shipping, functions as holding company with 19 wholly owned subsidiaries and an associate. PNSC, operating on a one-ship one-company model, is principally engaged in transportation of liquid cargo, slot chartering and bulk-cargo, catered through charter-hire arrangements and owned vessels. The Corporation is currently managing fleet of nine vessels, comprising five bulk carriers and four oil tankers with total carriage capacity of 681,806 DWT.
Mr. Arif Elahi (P.A.S), the Chairman and CEO of PNSC, joined the Corporation in Mar15. He has over 3 decades of experience in civil government with Sindh and Federal governments. Mr. Elahi is supported by a team of experienced individuals having long association with the Corporation.