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FINANCIAL CHRONICLE™ » DAILY CHRONICLE™ » Fitch affirms Singer at 'A-(lka)'; Outlook Stable

Fitch affirms Singer at 'A-(lka)'; Outlook Stable

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Melissa Pereira


Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Assistant Vice President - Equity Analytics
Fitch Ratings has affirmed Singer (Sri Lanka) PLC's (Singer) National Long-Term Rating at 'A-(lka). The Outlook is Stable.

Leading Consumer Durables Retailer: Singer's market share is supported by strong brands, an extensive distribution network with more than 1,200 sales points, and robust after-sales service. Growth is supported by the presence of a well-managed in-house hire-purchase portfolio, which accounted for 40% of revenue in 2014.

Improved Operating Environment: Singer's consumer durables sales rose 17.5% in 2014, following a 0.6% decline in 2013. Electricity tariff and fuel price reductions implemented in late 2014, low interest rates and a relatively stable exchange rate supported demand for Singer's products.

Fitch expects initiatives proposed in the government's February 2015 interim budget, such as higher salaries for public-sector employees, who make up about 25% of households, and a further reduction in fuel prices in line with market pricing, to sustain this trend. The discretionary nature of consumer durables, however, remains a key risk.

Fitch expects EBITDA margins, which contracted to 7.7% in 2014 from 8.0% in 2013, to remain under pressure due to discounting in a competitive environment, and an increasing portion of lower-margin products, such as mobile phones, in the product mix.

Courtesy: The Island 31 May 2015

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