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Press Release
09 Sep | Tuesday
RAM Ratings reaffirms AAA rating of Khazanah’s RM7 billion Sukuk Musyarakah issued through Rantau Abang Capital

RAM Ratings has reaffirmed the AAA/stable rating of Rantau Abang Capital Berhad’s RM7 billion Islamic Medium-Term Notes Programme (Sukuk Musyarakah). Rantau Abang, a trust-owned special-purpose vehicle, had been incorporated for the sole purpose of facilitating the issuance of the Sukuk Musyarakah.

Under the transaction, a Musyarakah partnership had been established between Khazanah and Rantau Abang; the capital returns and periodic profit payments on the Sukuk Musyarakah stem from an investment portfolio consisting of Shariah-approved shares and assets owned by Khazanah. The rating of the Sukuk Musyarakah ultimately reflect the credit strength of Khazanah, in its capacity as the Purchase Undertaking Obligor; the Company will purchase the specific portfolio units from Rantau Abang at a pre-agreed price upon maturity or a dissolution event.

RAM considers Khazanah as an extension of the Government of Malaysia (GOM); the likelihood of extraordinary government support is deemed unquestionable. The expectation of solid systemic support is based on Khazanah’s substantial stakes in key national sectors that are strategic to the Malaysian economy; a ”very strong” link with its owner, the GOM, which is highly unlikely to dilute its ownership; the fact that the Prime Minister is the chairman of its board; and Khazanah’s key role in Malaysia’s economic transformation plan. Our assessment also takes into account the Company’s sectorally diversified investment portfolio that comprises listed GLCs operating in stable and defensive industries, with dominant stakes in key economic segments. This yields recurring dividend income for Khazanah, along with superior financial flexibility in tapping the debt capital market for refinancing or additional funding.

Khazanah’s top line surged 49.9% y-o-y to RM7.1 billion in FY Dec 2013, on the back of special dividends from UEM Group Berhad and Valuecap Sdn Bhd. Moving forward, we do not expect this level of dividend income to be maintained. We envisage Khazanah’s dividend receipts to remain dictated by the performance of its investee companies, the progress of its divestment exercises and the overall market environment. In the past, Khazanah had extended financial support to its weak, non-performing investee companies, including Malaysian Airline System Berhad (MAS) and SilTerra Malaysia Sdn Bhd. Going forward, the written-down investment amount/financial assistance may exert pressure on Khazanah’s profitability and balance sheet, particularly following MAS’s deep losses.

While Khazanah’s debt level has been trending downwards in the last 5 years, it remained high at RM32.0 billion as at end-December 2013 (end-December 2009: RM36.4 billion). Underpinned by exceptional dividend income in FY Dec 2013, the Company’s operating profit before depreciation, interest and tax debt coverage expanded from 0.13 to 0.20 times. Khazanah’s acquisitions are typically funded by additional borrowings and/or asset divestments from its existing portfolio. While the Company enjoys easy access to the debt capital market, unbalanced global financial conditions may introduce additional elements of uncertainty to its funding options, and influence the valuation and timing of its divestments. That said, Khazanah has minimal refinancing risk given its superior financial flexibility.

Media contact:
Yong Keck Phin
(603) 7628 1183
keckphin@ram.com.my

source: RAM Rating Services Berhad
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