PACRA Maintain Entity Ratings of Liberty Mills Limited
Liberty Mills ratings reflect diversity in revenue stream emanating from textile business topped up with non-core recurring income from investments. The holding company structure of the entity strengthens its profile; investment book constitutes ~53% of the equity base and related income provides a significant buffer to bottomline (81%). Strategic holding in IPP – Liberty Powertech is reaping strong dividends. Liberty Mills, a family-owned textile company, operates in value-added segment - processing of fabric and made-ups. While this insulates it against volatility in cotton prices, the company's resilient business profile from core operations featured by business margins which, though reduced recently, remains in comfortable range. With an export market orientation, the company focuses on its established niche of quality-conscious institutional buyers. Although this has led to customer concentrations, longevity of relationship with big-name clients in addition to sustained quality helps manage the risk. A plunge in the revenue growth is observed owing to intense competition in the region. Liberty's strong financial risk profile is characterized by limited long-term debt, healthy cash flows, and, in turn, strong debt-servicing ability. Working capital cycle is stretched, though in line with peers; any improvement will bring efficiency. Long association of experienced management team adds comfort. However, governance framework needs improvement.
Going forward, Liberty Group - the sponsors - intends to expand its industrial footing with a diversification philosophy. A number of medium and long term projects are underway at group-level including (i) Pakistan Aluminum Beverage Cans Limited (PABC) (ii) Noor Solar Energy (Pvt.) Limited (iii) Engro PowerGen Thar (Pvt.) Limited (iv) Steel Plant (v) Pharmaceutical company
The ratings are dependent on the management's ability to sustain its margins while improving growth in revenue. Meanwhile, utilization of beefed-up capacities is considered important. Going forward, increase in business size, continuation of dividend/other income stream vis-à-vis solidification of governance framework will have positive implications on ratings.
Liberty, established in 1964, is in the business of manufacturing and processing of textile fabrics (capacity: 90mln meters) and made ups (stitching machines: 716 machines). The company is majority (~100%) owned by Mukaty family mainly through individuals. Liberty Group holds ~90% stake in Liberty Power Tech Limited (a 200MW thermal IPP) including ~29% through Liberty.
Liberty has an eight member board. The CEO, Mr. Muhammad Salim Mukaty, also holds the office of the Chairman. The board comprises four directors from sponsoring family, three executive members, and a non-executive director (NED). Executive Director Mr. Muhammad Ashraf S. Mukaty - son of Mr. Salim Mukaty - oversees daily operations. Mr. Ashraf is supported by an experienced management team.