Orascom risk ratings

Orascom risk ratings
Published: 27 December 2004

Fitch Ratings, the international rating agency, has just assigned Egypt-based Orascom Construction Industries’ ("OCI") upcoming bond issue a National ’BBB+(egy)’ rating, based on unconsolidated accounts and the term sheet provided by the company dated 14 December 2004. This is the third National rating it has assigned to OCI’s bonds. At the same time, Fitch has downgraded the OCI’s second bond issue (EGP400 million) to ’BBB+(egy)’ from ’A-(A minus)(egy)’ based on unconsolidated financials.
The ratings reflect OCI’s increasing financial risk mainly due to an increase in debt levels, which have led to deterioration of the company’s cash flow-based credit protection measures. The ratings also take into account further leverage increase expected in 2005 and 2006.

According to the term sheet of the expected issue, proceeds will be used to repay some of the existing loans and facilities, while the remaining balance will be used to augment construction and cement-related investments in Egypt, Algeria, the Gulf, Iraq and Pakistan.

Founded in 1998, OCI is Egypt’s leading private, Sawiris family-owned contractor and building materials manufacturing company, with a focus on cement investments. Generally, OCI is involved in construction, building materials manufacturing and infrastructure developments concessions. OCI has grown rapidly by undertaking new investments and acquisitions mainly of companies that relate to its core activities or are likely to provide strong synergies within the group that would enhance OCI’s position as a leading contractor and cement producer, not only in Egypt but also in the region.