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Fitch affirms Kernel at 'BB-', outlook stable

22.09.2020 11:20 "Agro Perspectiva" (Kyiv) Fitch Ratings has affirmed Ukrainian commodity processor Kernel Holding S.A.’s Long-Term Foreign- and Local-Currency (LC) Long-Term Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) at ’BB-’. The Outlook is Stable.

«The affirmation reflects our expectations that Kernel will maintain a high share of export profits (FY20: 95% of EBITDA), and continue proactively refinancing upcoming debt maturities,» Fitch said in a last week press release.

Fitch expects Kernel to post record high EBITDA in FY20 (ending June 2020) of $412 million, driven by a record sunflower seeds harvest in Ukraine and higher average sunflower oil prices in the year. This will result in above $90 EBITDA per ton in FY20 in the core oil segment vs. $62 in FY19. Profits are also expected to be supported by the strong contribution of trading and healthy margins in farming.

«We expect profitability in the core oil segment to normalise toward $60 to $75 per ton in FY21–23, resulting in lower segment EBITDA. Nonetheless, profits should grow in FY22–23 supported by new capacity launches and efficiency initiatives,» Fitch said.

Capex of $240 million-$250 million in FY20 and FY21, which include investments on the new port terminal capacity, an oilseed processing plant in western Ukraine and for the cogeneration heat and power plants. Capex at around $70 million-$80 million per year thereafter, is laid in the Fitch forecast.

Fitch also expects dividends between 420 and $40 million in FY20–23.

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