Fitch Ratings – Hong Kong – 13 Apr 2022:
Fitch Ratings has downgraded Sri Lanka’s Long-Term Foreign-Currency Issuer Default Rating (IDR) to ‘C’ from ‘CC’. The issue ratings on foreign-currency bonds issued on international markets have also been downgraded to ‘C’ from ‘CC’. The Long-Term Local-Currency IDR has been affirmed at ‘CCC’ and the Country Ceiling at ‘B-’. A full list of rating actions is at the end of this rating action commentary.
Fitch typically does not assign modifiers for sovereigns with a rating of ‘CCC’, or below.
KEY RATING DRIVERS
Default-like Process Has Begun:
The downgrade of Sri Lanka’s Long-Term Foreign-Currency IDR reflects Fitch’s view that a sovereign default process has begun. This reflects the announcement by the Ministry of Finance on 12 April 2022 that it has suspended normal debt servicing of several categories of its external debts, including bonds issued in the international capital markets and foreign currency-denominated loan agreements or credit facilities with commercial banks or institutional lenders. We will downgrade the LT FC IDR to ‘RD’ once a payment on an issuance is missed and the grace period has expired.
Local Currency Debt Not Affected:
The statement applies only to the government’s external debt obligations. Fitch understands from the announcement that locally issued government debt, whether in local or foreign currency, is not affected and assumes service on this will continue.
Since the last review, certain local-currency issuances’ ratings have been corrected to ‘CCC’ and now affirmed.
ESG – Governance:
Sri Lanka has an ESG Relevance Score of ‘5’ for Political Stability and Rights as well as for the Rule of Law, Institutional and Regulatory Quality and Control of Corruption, as is the case for all sovereigns. These scores reflect the high weight that the World Bank Governance Indicators have in our proprietary Sovereign Rating Model. Sri Lanka has a medium World Bank Governance Indicator ranking in the 46th percentile, reflecting a recent record of peaceful political transitions, a moderate level of rights for participation in the political process, moderate institutional capacity, established rule of law and a moderate level of corruption.
ESG – Creditor Rights:
Sri Lanka has an ESG Relevance Score (RS) of 5 for Creditor Rights as willingness to service and repay debt is highly relevant to the rating and is a key rating driver with a high weight. The downgrade of Sri Lanka’s rating to ‘C’ reflects Fitch’s view that a default-like process has begun.
Factors that could, individually or collectively, lead to negative rating action/downgrade:
– Failure to fulfil commercial debt payment within stipulated grace periods.
– Completion of a distressed debt exchange (DDE).
Factors that could, individually or collectively, lead to positive rating action/upgrade:
Payment on upcoming commercial debt obligations and/or signs of improved capacity and willingness to continue to do so.
SOVEREIGN RATING MODEL (SRM) AND QUALITATIVE OVERLAY (QO)
In accordance with the rating criteria for ratings in the ‘CCC’ range and below, Fitch’s sovereign rating committee has not used the SRM and QO to explain the ratings, which are instead guided by the rating definitions.
Fitch’s SRM is the agency’s proprietary multiple regression rating model that employs 18 variables based on three-year centred averages, including one year of forecasts, to produce a score equivalent to a LT FC IDR. Fitch’s QO is a forward-looking qualitative framework designed to allow for adjustment to the SRM output to assign the final rating, reflecting factors within our criteria that are not fully quantifiable and/or not fully reflected in the SRM.
BEST/WORST CASE RATING SCENARIO
International scale credit ratings of Sovereigns, Public Finance and Infrastructure issuers have a best-case rating upgrade scenario (defined as the 99th percentile of rating transitions, measured in a positive direction) of three notches over a three-year rating horizon; and a worst-case rating downgrade scenario (defined as the 99th percentile of rating transitions, measured in a negative direction) of three notches over three years. The complete span of best- and worst-case scenario credit ratings for all rating categories ranges from ‘AAA’ to ‘D’. Best- and worst-case scenario credit ratings are based on historical performance. For more information about the methodology used to determine sector-specific best- and worst-case scenario credit ratings, visit https://www.fitchratings.com/site/re/10111579.
REFERENCES FOR SUBSTANTIALLY MATERIAL SOURCE CITED AS KEY DRIVER OF RATING
The principal sources of information used in the analysis are described in the Applicable Criteria.
Sri Lanka has an ESG Relevance Score of ‘5’ for Political Stability and Rights as World Bank Governance Indicators have the highest weight in Fitch’s SRM and are highly relevant to the rating and a key rating driver with a high weight.
Sri Lanka has an ESG Relevance Score of ‘5’ for Rule of Law, Institutional & Regulatory Quality and Control of Corruption as World Bank Governance Indicators have the highest weight in Fitch’s SRM and are therefore highly relevant to the rating and are a key rating driver with a high weight. As Sri Lanka has a percentile rank below 50 for the respective Governance Indicators, this has a negative impact on the credit profile.
Sri Lanka has an ESG Relevance Score of ‘4’ for Human Rights and Political Freedoms, as the Voice and Accountability pillar of the WBGI is relevant to the rating and a rating driver. As Sri Lanka has a percentile rank below 50 for the respective governance indicator, this has a negative impact on the credit profile.
Sri Lanka has an ESG Relevance Score (RS) of ‘5’ for Creditor Rights as willingness to service and repay debt is highly relevant to the rating and is a key rating driver with a high weight. The downgrade of Sri Lanka’s rating to ‘C’ reflects Fitch’s view that a default-like process has begun.
Unless otherwise disclosed in this section, the highest level of ESG credit relevance is a score of ‘3’. This means ESG issues are credit-neutral or have only a minimal credit impact on the entity, either due to their nature or the way in which they are being managed by the entity. For more information on Fitch’s ESG Relevance Scores, visit www.fitchratings.com/esg.
Mahindra Ideal Finance One of Sri Lanka’s Great Places to Work
Mahindra Ideal Finance is not only one of Sri Lanka’s leading finance companies, but also one of Sri Lanka’s top employers of choice, attested to by the Company being certified as a Great Place to Work for 3 consecutive years, most recently in 2021.The Company has also been recognized amongst the Best 10 companies in the banking, financial services and insurance sector in 2021 by the Great Place to Work® Sri Lanka. As a result, Mahindra Ideal Finance has attracted a diverse group of individuals at the top of their game to be a part of the Company’s various teams. Having embarked on a landmark islandwide network expansion strategy, Mahindra Ideal Finance is also creating new opportunities for aspiring Sri Lankan professionals looking to build solid careers in financial services.
Duminda Weerasekara – Chief Executive Officer said, “As we are growing our presence around the country through the expansion of our branch network, we are looking for driven and passionate people to reinforce our teams. As we have been a dedicated, caring and trustworthy employer since our inception, Mahindra Ideal Finance is the ideal platform for dynamic young professionals looking to launch or grow their careers.”Great Place to Work®, headquartered in the USA, is the global authority on high-trust, high performance workplace cultures. Great Place to Work provides the benchmarks, framework, and expertise needed to create, sustain, and recognize outstanding workplace cultures.
Daraz Cares introduces ‘Buy one Give One’ initiative – To support families in vulnerable communities
The unfolding economic crisis in the country has presented Sri Lankans with unprecedented challenges, including scarcity of essentials, escalating living expenses and deteriorating living standards. The impacts of the crisis are graver and more ominous for those in vulnerable communities, where families struggle to make ends meet amidst mounting financial difficulties.As part of its commitment to give back to the community, Daraz Cares has come forward with a social initiative that pledges support for families in vulnerable communities. The initiative themed ‘Buy One, Give One’ will support Sri Lankan families faced with financial challenges with a pack of selected daily essentials. The selected items for the ‘Buy One, Give One’ initiative are, a 1kg pack of CIC Sudu Suduru Rice,a 500g of Orient Mysoore Dhal, a 300g pack of Maggi Coconut Milk Powder, 500g of Orient White Sugar, and 500 g packs of Sunlight Lemon and Rose Detergent Powder, which are all available for purchase via Daraz Mart.
The initiative will be implemented in a manner that, each time an individual purchase any desired quantity of one of the nominated items on the Daraz app, Daraz will donate an equal quantity of the same product to a family in vulnerable communities.Daraz invites everyone to purchase a preferred quantity of the selected items via www.daraz.lk/dmart/ and become a part of the ‘Buy One, Give One’ social initiative.
DIMO partners with Allianz to provide innovative insurance scheme to its TATA customers
DIMO together with Allianz recently introduced a state-of-the-art motor insurance & claim settlement scheme designed exclusively for DIMO’s TATA customers.The partnership is focused on assisting the customers to reduce costs incurred during conducting accident repairs through exemption of the owner’s payable portion for TATA vehicles within 5 years of date of manufacture. This innovative facility also offers all TATA customers of DIMO special insurance premium rates at the time of renewal of insurance. DIMO’s TATA customers will enjoy the utmost convenience and zero hassle as both DIMO and Allianz will coordinate all tasks from towing the vehicle to the nearest DIMO-TATA workshop, quick and efficient estimation & approval process, repairing of the vehicle according to exact manufacturer’s specifications, settlement of repair bills to handing over of the vehicle to the customer in original condition.
Ranjith Pandithage, Chairman & Managing Director of DIMO, said, “This partnership will further assist us in offering an enhanced service for our valued customers. As a company, DIMO has always stood for fuelling the dreams and aspirations of the communities we serve in, and it is a pleasure to be able to offer an innovative insurance scheme at a time like this, in collaboration with Allianz.
Gany Subramaniam, CEO of Allianz Insurance Lanka Ltd, said “We are extremely pleased to be partnering with DIMO to offer a customer-centric product, ensuring a vehicle is repaired and restored with minimum hassle.”
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