RPT-Fitch Rates SGD's IDR & Senior Secured Notes Final 'B'; Outlook Stable

Mon May 19, 2014 5:57am EDT

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May 19 (Reuters) - (The following statement was released by the rating agency)

Fitch Ratings has assigned France-based SGD Group SAS (SGD Pharma) a final Long-term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of 'B' with Stable Outlook and the group's EUR350m senior secured notes a final 'B'/'RR4' rating. The final ratings are in line with the expected rating and follow the receipt of final documents conforming to information already received.

The ratings are based solely on SGD Group's pharma business and exclude the perfumery business, which is being demerged from the group, with expected completion by end-2015. The ratings are also based on our assumption that SGD Pharma will continue to pay for the operational costs of the perfumery business until separation is complete and that the shareholder, Oaktree Capital, will provide credit support for any indemnity.

The ratings reflect SGD Pharma's limited scale of operations and fairly high funds from operations (FFO) adjusted leverage, which we forecast to reduce to around 5.5x from around 6.0x at end-13. However, the group's credit profile is supported by leading positions in the stable pharma glass packaging market, high barriers to entry and limited end-market and customer concentration.

KEY RATING DRIVERS

High Leverage

Leverage is high, but adequate for the ratings. FCF generation over the next two years will be limited by large investment outlays of EUR75m. We expect the group to be FCF positive from 2016, when it completes the separation of its perfumery and pharma operations and capex returns to normalised levels.

Sound Business Profile

SGD Pharma's business profile is commensurate with the 'B' rating category. The limited scale of its operations and focus on the pharmaceutical glass market are mitigated by a range of therapeutic end-markets served by its products. In addition, customer concentration is limited, eliminating dependency on the success of single drugs, formats or customers.

Stable End-Markets

The molded glass packaging market has been growing at healthy rates of around 4% since the 2009 recession. We expect long-term favourable demand growth for pharma packaging, driven by global growth in population, life expectancy, chronic diseases and fast-growing demand for healthcare and pharma in emerging markets.

Strong Market Positions

SGD Pharma has strong market positions, particularly in the profitable type I glass market, where it holds a 30% global share. The market for this type of glass is highly concentrated, with the top three players supplying 80% of the market. In its core western European markets (63% of revenues), the group is the undisputed leader in type II and III glass markets with a 55% and 33% share, respectively.

High Barriers to Entry

The group's profitability is protected in the short- to medium-term by high entry barriers provided by its technological leadership, the large investments required to set up new production and high switching costs for customers, including high regulatory requirements and the reputational risks associated with product quality issues. For SGD Pharma's customers, switching suppliers is therefore often not economical, given that the price of packaging is small compared with the price of the final product. It amounts to up to 3% for type I glass and up to 5% for type II glass.

Refurbished Asset Base

The group's assets benefit from large historical investments. This will enable it to reduce maintenance capex for a number of years, particularly during the construction of its new French plant and the operational separation of its pharma and perfumery businesses, which is capital-intensive.

RATING SENSITIVITIES

Positive: Future developments that may, individually or collectively, lead to positive rating action include:

- FFO adjusted leverage below 4.0x

- Positive FCF generation through the cycle

Negative: Future developments that may, individually or collectively, lead to negative rating action include:

- FFO adjusted leverage above 6.0x

- Quality issues, operational disruptions or growing competitive pressure in type II or III markets, resulting in EBITDA margin in the teens

- Liquidity pressures from negative FCF or covenant breaches

LIQUIDITY AND DEBT STRUCTURE

SGD Pharma's liquidity is adequate, given around EUR10m intra-year working capital swings. Post transaction, it will benefit from liquidity of around EUR40m, of which EUR35m consists of an undrawn revolving credit facility, with no debt maturity until 2019, when the new bond matures.

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