Announcements Corporate Rating Alerts

GCR assigns RA International long and short term national scale ratings of AAA(KE)/ A1+(KE); Stable Outlook

Rating Action

Johannesburg, 24 June 2020 – GCR Ratings (“GCR”) has assigned national scale long term and short term issuer ratings to RA International FZCO (UAE) of AAA(KE) and A1+(KE), respectively. The outlook on the ratings is Stable.

Rated Entity / Issue Rating class Rating scale Rating Outlook / Watch
RA International FZCO (UAE) Long Term Issuer National AAA(KE) Stable Outlook
Short Term Issuer National A1+(KE)

Rating Rationale

The ratings accorded to RA International FZCO (UAE) (“RA”) balance the company’s very strong financial profile against its small scale, customer concentration and the risk of operating in very challenging environments.

RA has developed a unique business model that provides construction, integrated facilities management and other services to a range of international organisations and governments in demanding operating environments. In this regard, RA’s operations are primarily in Somalia, Central Africa Republic, and South Sudan, with recent growth into Mozambique and Libya. The governance and financial weaknesses in these countries, which inherently impacts the ease of operations, does serve to limit RA’s credit quality.

Contrasting the challenging scope of operations is the strong credit quality of its major clients, being the United Nations, and various governmental entities of the United States of America and the United Kingdom. Critically, all contract pricing and financial transactions are done in hard currencies, predominantly USD, and flow through international banks in the UAE. Moreover, as the projects are mostly aid related, contracts are not subject to the same volatility that may be evident in the traditional construction and services industry. The low risk jurisdictions of major clients substantially counterbalances RA’s exposure to risky territories.

RA has developed a strong reputation for bringing projects to fruition and servicing clients in several countries, thereby supporting a sound competitive position within its niche business segments. As a result, the company has been able to develop strong relationships with various governments, aid agencies and large global engineering firms. Nevertheless, RA’s small scale is a rating constraint, with annual revenues still well below USD100m. While the increasing customer diversification is noted, RA remains heavily reliant on the UN for income, which does pose concentration risk.

RA’s revenue has nonetheless evidenced strong growth over the review period, and notwithstanding some pressure, margins remain resilient. Moreover, the company expects margins to widen as contract volumes pick up over the rating horizon. While FY20 earnings may be dampened by COVID-19 disruptions, this is not expected to have a long-term impact on the company.

RA reports a strong net cash position, with over USD21m in cash at FY19. The company also maintains substantial credit facilities, which are used to support contract tenders. To date, such facilities have not been drawn. Notwithstanding that RA is investigating additional funding facilities to improve financial flexibility, the company does not expect to report a geared position over the medium term.

The substantial cash reserves and unutilised committed facilities also serve to underpin a very strong liquidity position. Accordingly, GCR expects RA to be able to comfortably cover all its investment requirements from operating cash flows and existing resources over the next 24 months.

Outlook Statement

The Stable Outlook reflects GCR’s expectation that RA will continue to report strong earnings and a robust balance sheet in the medium term.

Rating Triggers

Positive rating action is dependent on the continued growth and diversification of the company, without materially impacting its client quality and the certainly of income. Negative rating action may result from; 1) a material increase in debt, whether to fund expansionary projects or acquisition; 2) unforeseen operational challenges in one of the major projects that results in financial losses; and 3) any actions that result in reputational damage and a breakdown in relationships with key clients.

Analytical Contacts

Primary analyst Eyal Shevel Sector Head: Corporate Ratings
Johannesburg, ZA Shevel@GCRratings.com +27 11 784 1771
Committee chair Patricia Zvarayi Deputy Sector Head: Corporate Ratings
Johannesburg, ZA Patricia@GCRratings.com +27 11 784 1771

Related Criteria and Research

Criteria for the GCR Ratings Framework, May 2019
Criteria for Rating Corporate Companies, May 2019
GCR Country Risk Scores, May 2020
GCR Rating Scales, Symbols and Definitions, May 2019

Ratings History

RA International Group Plc

Rating class Review Rating scale Rating class Outlook Date
Long Term Issuer Initial/ Last National AAA(KE) Stable June 2020
Short term Issuer Initial/ Last National A1+(KE)

RISK SCORE SUMMARY

Rating Components & Factors Risk score
Operating environment 9.00
Country risk score 7.00
Sector risk score 2.00
Business profile (1.00)
Competitive position (1.00)
Management and governance 0.00
Financial profile 5.00
Earnings performance 0.00
Leverage and capital structure 3.00
Liquidity 2.00
Comparative profile 0.00
Group support 0.00
Peer analysis 0.00
Total Risk Score 13.00

Glossary

Cash Flow The inflow and outflow of cash and cash equivalents. Such flows arise from operating, investing and financing activities.
Cash Funds that can be readily spent or used to meet current obligations.
Covenant A provision that is indicative of performance. Covenants are either positive or negative. Positive covenants are activities that the borrower commits to, typically in its normal course of business. Negative covenants are certain limits and restrictions on the borrowers’ activities.
Coverage The scope of the protection provided under a contract of insurance.
Debt An obligation to repay a sum of money. More specifically, it is funds passed from a creditor to a debtor in exchange for interest and a commitment to repay the principal in full on a specified date or over a specified period.
Diversification Spreading risk by constructing a portfolio that contains different exposures whose returns are relatively uncorrelated. The term also refers to companies which move into markets or products that bear little relation to ones they already operate in.
Income Money received, especially on a regular basis, for work or through investments.
Interest Cover Interest cover is a measure of a company’s interest payments relative to its profits. It is calculated by dividing a company’s operating profit by its interest payments for a given period.
Interest Scheduled payments made to a creditor in return for the use of borrowed money. The size of the payments will be determined by the interest rate, the amount borrowed or principal and the duration of the loan.
Issuer The party indebted or the person making repayments for its borrowings.
Leverage With regard to corporate analysis, leverage (or gearing) refers to the extent to which a company is funded by debt.
Liquidity The speed at which assets can be converted to cash. It can also refer to the ability of a company to service its debt obligations due to the presence of liquid assets such as cash and its equivalents. Market liquidity refers to the ease with which a security can be bought or sold quickly and in large volumes without substantially affecting the market price.
Long Term Rating See GCR Rating Scales, Symbols and Definitions.
Operating Cash Flow A company’s net cash position over a given period, i.e. money received from customers minus payments to suppliers and staff, administration expenses, interest payments and taxes.
Rating Outlook See GCR Rating Scales, Symbols and Definitions.
Short Term Rating See GCR Rating Scales, Symbols and Definitions.
Short Term Current; ordinarily less than one year.
Upgrade The rating has been raised on its specific scale

SALIENT POINTS OF ACCORDED RATINGS

GCR affirms that a.) no part of the rating process was influenced by any other business activities of the credit rating agency; b.) the ratings were based solely on the merits of the rated entity, security or financial instrument being rated; c.) such ratings were an independent evaluation of the risks and merits of the rated entity, security or financial instrument; and d.) the validity of the ratings is for a maximum of 12 months, or earlier as indicated by the applicable credit rating document.

The credit ratings have been disclosed to RA International FZCO (UAE). The ratings above were solicited by, or on behalf of, the rated entity, and therefore, GCR has been compensated for the provision of the ratings.

RA International FZCO (UAE) participated in the rating process through management meetings, teleconferences and other written correspondence. Furthermore, the quality of information received was considered adequate and has been independently verified where possible. The information received from RA International FZCO (UAE) and other reliable third parties to accord the credit ratings included:

  • The audited financial results for December 2019
  • Four years of comparative audited numbers
  • Full details of projects and income breakdown
  • Full details of funding facilities
image_pdfPDF View


ALL GCR CREDIT RATINGS ARE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN LIMITATIONS, TERMS OF USE OF SUCH RATINGS AND DISCLAIMERS. PLEASE READ THESE LIMITATIONS, TERMS OF USE AND DISCLAIMERS BY FOLLOWING THIS LINK:HTTP://GCRRATINGS.COM. IN ADDITION, RATING SCALES AND DEFINITIONS ARE AVAILABLE ON GCR’S PUBLIC WEB SITE AT WWW.GCRRATINGS.COM/RATING_INFORMATION. PUBLISHED RATINGS, CRITERIA, AND METHODOLOGIES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THIS SITE AT ALL TIMES. GCR's CODE OF CONDUCT, CONFIDENTIALITY, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, COMPLIANCE, AND OTHER RELEVANT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FROM THIS SITE.

CREDIT RATINGS ISSUED AND RESEARCH PUBLICATIONS PUBLISHED BY GCR, ARE GCR’S OPINIONS, AS AT THE DATE OF ISSUE OR PUBLICATION THEREOF, OF THE RELATIVE FUTURE CREDIT RISK OF ENTITIES, CREDIT COMMITMENTS, OR DEBT OR DEBT-LIKE SECURITIES. GCR DEFINES CREDIT RISK AS THE RISK THAT AN ENTITY MAY NOT MEET ITS CONTRACTUAL AND/OR FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS AS THEY BECOME DUE. CREDIT RATINGS DO NOT ADDRESS ANY OTHER RISK, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO: FRAUD, MARKET LIQUIDITY RISK, MARKET VALUE RISK, OR PRICE VOLATILITY. CREDIT RATINGS AND GCR’S OPINIONS INCLUDED IN GCR’S PUBLICATIONS ARE NOT STATEMENTS OF CURRENT OR HISTORICAL FACT. CREDIT RATINGS AND GCR’S PUBLICATIONS DO NOT CONSTITUTE OR PROVIDE INVESTMENT OR FINANCIAL ADVICE, AND CREDIT RATINGS AND GCR’S PUBLICATIONS ARE NOT AND DO NOT PROVIDE RECOMMENDATIONS TO PURCHASE, SELL OR HOLD PARTICULAR SECURITIES. NEITHER GCR’S CREDIT RATINGS, NOR ITS PUBLICATIONS, COMMENT ON THE SUITABILITY OF AN INVESTMENT FOR ANY PARTICULAR INVESTOR. GCR ISSUES ITS CREDIT RATINGS AND PUBLISHES GCR’S PUBLICATIONS WITH THE EXPECTATION AND UNDERSTANDING THAT EACH INVESTOR WILL MAKE ITS OWN STUDY AND EVALUATION OF EACH SECURITY THAT IS UNDER CONSIDERATION FOR PURCHASE, HOLDING OR SALE.

Copyright 2019 GCR INFORMATION PUBLISHED BY GCR MAY NOT BE COPIED OR OTHERWISE REPRODUCED OR DISCLOSED, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, IN ANY FORM OR MANNER OR BY ANY MEANS WHATSOEVER, BY ANY PERSON WITHOUT GCR’S PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT. Credit ratings are solicited by, or on behalf of, the issuer of the instrument in respect of which the rating is issued, and GCR is compensated for the provision of these ratings. Information sources used to prepare the ratings are set out in each credit rating report and/or rating notification and include the following: parties involved in the ratings and public information. All information used to prepare the ratings is obtained by GCR from sources reasonably believed by it to be accurate and reliable. Although GCR will at all times use its best efforts and practices to ensure that the information it relies on is accurate at the time, GCR does not provide any warranty in respect of, nor is it otherwise responsible for, the accurateness of such information.GCR adopts all reasonable measures to ensure that the information it uses in assigning a credit rating is of sufficient quality and that such information is obtained from sources that GCR, acting reasonably, considers to be reliable, including, when appropriate, independent third-party sources. However, GCR cannot in every instance independently verify or validate information received in the rating process. Under no circumstances shall GCR have any liability to any person or entity for (a) any loss or damage suffered by such person or entity caused by, resulting from, or relating to, any error made by GCR, whether negligently (including gross negligence) or otherwise, or other circumstance or contingency outside the control of GCR or any of its directors, officers, employees or agents in connection with the procurement, collection, compilation, analysis, interpretation, communication, publication or delivery of any such information, or (b) any direct, indirect, special, consequential, compensatory or incidental damages whatsoever (including without limitation, lost profits) suffered by such person or entity, as a result of the use of or inability to use any such information. The ratings, financial reporting analysis, projections, and other observations, if any, constituting part of the information contained in each credit rating report and/or rating notification are, and must be construed solely as, statements of opinion and not statements of fact or recommendations to purchase, sell or hold any securities. Each user of the information contained in each credit rating report and/or rating notification must make its own study and evaluation of each security it may consider purchasing, holding or selling. NO WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO THE ACCURACY, TIMELINESS, COMPLETENESS, MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR ANY PARTICULAR PURPOSE OF ANY SUCH RATING OR OTHER OPINION OR INFORMATION IS GIVEN OR MADE BY GCR IN ANY FORM OR MANNER WHATSOEVER.