PACRA Maintains Entity Ratings of United Ethanol Industries Limited
Pakistan’s ethanol industry is largely export based owing to meager domestic consumption. The Country’s ethanol exports stood at USD 392mln in MY20, growing steeply by ~39% due to increased volumes. Prices in the global market have been fluctuating, due to the sudden closure of businesses worldwide, along with spike in ethanol demand. However, impact of subdued international ethanol prices was offset to a certain extent by devaluation of the Pakistani Rupee. Though sugarcane production in Pakistan during MY19 and MY20 remain low, yet domestic distilleries posted stable profits. Margins for the industry inflated supported by increased demand in the international market due to Covid-19. Going forward, the industry's margin are expected to remain stable on the back of increased ethanol prices, though raw material prices have increased on the back of lower sugarcane production and high cost of molasses.
The ratings reflect United Ethanol’s strong business profile emanating from robust margins and export oriented nature of ethanol industry. Strong margins at gross and operating level resulted in augmented profitability. The ratings draw strength from the Company’s association with United Group, which has an established presence in the Country’s sugar and allied industry. The Company’s revenue comprises primarily of exports. Since being acquired by United Group in 2016, the Company has been able to enhance efficiency through effective BMR implementation, yielding positive results. The Company has a leveraged capital structure supplemented by adequate coverages and effective working capital management. This keeps financial risk manageable.
Ratings are dependent on the management’s ability to effectively maintain margins during foreseen challenges expected to be faced by the ethanol industry. Prudent debt and liquidity management is critical for ratings. Any significant increase in debt, deterioration in coverages and/or drag of high advances extended to group concerns, if any, will impact the ratings negatively. Meanwhile, strengthening governance framework remains critical for ratings.
United Ethanol Industries Limited (the Company) is a public unlisted company. Primary business activity of the Company involves manufacturing and sale of food and industrial grade ethanol. The Company was incorporated in October, 2003, and was formerly owned by Etihad Group. The Essarani Family acquired the Company in September, 2016. Major shareholding of the Company rests with Essarani Family, through Mr. Deoo Mal Essarani (24%) and his four sons – Mr. Asha Ram (29%), Dr. Tara Chand (24%), Mahesh Kumar (22%) and Mr. Jugdesh Kumar (1%).
The Company is headed by Dr. Tara Chand, the Chief Executive Officer. He is ably supported by a team of experienced professionals.