PACRA Assigns "Positive Outlook" to Entity Ratings of Engro Polymer & Chemicals Limited
The ratings incorporates Engro Polymer’s (‘EPCL’ or ‘The Company’) established foothold in the local Poly Vinyl Chloride (PVC) and Caustic Soda market. EPCL, being the sole manufacturer of PVC in domestic market, embraces a distinct position in PVC with a market share of ~66% (CY20). During the 1HCY20, demand cycle disrupted due to countrywide lockdown, impacting the operational business activities, which later recovered due to easing of lockdowns and resumption of construction sector. In such times, EPCL stayed resilient, as it was authorized to operate by the government agencies given criticality of its products. Moreover, the hike in PVC prices covered the impact of suppressed revenues. The volumes of PVC also rose considerably. Future demand outlook is expected to remain robust primarily on the back of improved market conditions. Prudent management of EPCL capacitated it in defying all the unparalleled challenges and achieved milestones during the year CY20. The ratings stance stems from i) EPCL’s highest ever profitability in CY20, ii) Preference shares of PKR 3bln issued, oversubscribed by 5.4x & iii) successful completion of PVC – III capacity expansion of 100,000 M.T and VCM debottlenecking of 50KT. It is much likely that the enhanced capacity will benefit the Company in capitalizing the growth momentum spurred by the construction space and take over the share of PVC imports. Additionally, the Company en-routes other efficiency expansion projects; HTDC, OVR and TLEx, comprising both enhancements in capacity of existing product lines and introduction of new products. This will add diversity to EPCL’s product mix. The Company is also entering Hydrogen Peroxide market through a green field manufacturing facility by investing ~USD 35-40mln, anticipated to commission in late 2022. Currently, the Company’s debt profile is elevated amidst its phase of expansion, though, it is being aptly managed by having concessionary loans (TERF). A forex risk arising from the foreign currency loan on company’s books, has been neutralized. Company enjoys very strong liquidity position on the back of sizable deposits and liquid assets, supplementing it cashflows. EPCL's association with one of the country's leading conglomerate – Engro Corp – and very strong financial profile of the sponsor, lends further support to the ratings.
The Positive Outlook captures the evolving trajectory of the ratings upgrade. The ratings are dependent upon company’s ability to strengthen its business as well as financial profile, sustained operation, and in-time completion of the PVC expansion. Timely completion of the remaining planned expansion projects, while retaining stable coverages would remain important. Adequate management of its capital structure and debt payback remains imperative.
EPCL, established in 1997, started commercial production in 1999. The Company is listed on Pakistan Stock Exchange. EPCL is primarily involved in the manufacturing, marketing and distribution of PVC and its allied products with design annual capacity of 295,000 tons per annum ( previous 195,000 tons). Caustic Soda – another product - adds meaningful diversification to the Company’s business. EPCL is a subsidiary of Engro Corporation Limited (ECL) having majority stake (56%). The other major shareholder is Mitsubishi Corporation (11%). The Board of Directors (BoD) comprises 9 members including CEO - Executive Director, one member represents Mitsubishi Corporation, three are independent directors and remaining are Non-Executive Directors. Mr. Ghiasuddin Khan – the CEO of Engro Corp - Chairman of EPCL. - is the Non-Executive Director.