Muhammad Nadeem Sheikh
PACRA Maintains Entity Ratings of Pakistan Mobile Communications Limited
The ratings incorporate robust business profile of the company, represented by a leading market share of ~37% in the country's cellular subscribers (~56 million). This strong share has been achieved with organic and inorganic growth. The company enjoys synergies related to operational and technical network, reflected into better earnings for the merged entity. Optimizing on its single brand "Jazz", the company commands solid volumes and strong margins. Additionally, in collaboration with Mobilink Microfinance Bank, an associate entity, the company is establishing a strong digital banking platform. Overall market dimensions remain positive, particularly in mobile data services, as penetration level in 3G/4G subscribers stands at ~29%, depicting sufficient room for growth. Despite the growing trend, over-the-top (OTT) applications continue to be of challenge to the telecom revenues. The company's financial risk profile exhibits a strong outlook demonstrated by prudent working capital strategies and comfortable coverages. Capital structure reflected a relatively leveraged position and is expected to dilute, going forward, as the company pays off its long term debts, supported by robust and sustainable cashflows.
The ratings are dependent on the sustenance of (i) leading market position (ii) strong profitability and (iii) adequate debt profile. Meanwhile, extending growth in mobile data services is considered important.
Pakistan Mobile Communication Limited (PMCL) – brand name ‘Jazz’ commenced its operations in August 1994. Global Telecom Holding (GTH) – which is majority owned by one of the world’s leading telecom group – VEON (formerly VimpelCom), owns ~85% shareholding of the company. Rest ~15% lies with Abu Dhabi Group through share swap transaction of PMCL-Warid merger. VEON is among the largest telecom operators in the world in terms of subscribers. It offers a wide range of wireless, fixed and broadband services to approximately 244mln customers in 13 countries.
The company's seven-member Board of Directors (BoD) is mainly composed of representatives from VEON. His Highness Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan chairs the board. He also chairs the board of the Abu Dhabi Group, Union National Bank and Bank Alfalah. Mr. Aamir Ibrahim, the CEO, has over two decades experience in local and international market. He is assisted by a qualified and experienced senior management team.
The company has issued a Sukuk of PKR 6,900mln in two parts; PKR 3,000mln on Dec 22, 2014 and PKR
3,900mln on Sep 3, 2015. The profit is payable quarterly at three month KIBOR plus 35bps. The first principal payment was made on Mar 22, 2017. Total outstanding amount of PKR 2,875mln will be paid in five equal quarterly installments. The Sukuk has been provided a partial credit guarantee of PKR 966mln by GuarantCo, rated AAA by PACRA.