Market volatility challenge to PNB HFC’s equity plans, says ICRA

The capital market bloodbath due to the Covid-19 outbreak poses a challenge to PNB Housing Finance’s plan to raise Rs 1,700 crore in equity capital in the near term.

Also, further delay in fundraising will postpone the expected improvement in the leverage profile and limit the cushion available for absorbing contingencies, according to rating agency

The agency has downgraded rating for HFC’s non-convertible debentures and tier II bonds from “AA+” to “AA” due to weakening of its asset quality, especially in the wholesale loan portfolio”. The rating revision factors in delays in its fundraising plan along with the lower-than-expected planned equity infusion.

PNB HFC recently took the board’’s approval to raise up to Rs 1,700 crore of equity, which is lower than the previously envisaged amount, said. Further, considering the concentrated risk in this profile and the challenging operating environment, the company’s economic capital requirements have increased.

Its stock closed 4.97 per cent down at Rs 161.6 per share on Friday (April 3) on the BSE.

The company’s assets under management (AUM) stood at Rs 86,297 crore at the end of December 2019. Punjab National Bank (PNB) and The Carlyle Group had a stake of 32.65 per cent and 32.22 per cent, respectively, as of December 31, 2019.

The firm has witnessed moderation in growth in portfolio given the market conditions and the same is expected to remain so in the near term.

The risks are mitigated by the good collateral cover maintained for exposures, its risk management systems and processes, which support ability to proactively manage the portfolio as demonstrated in the past.

The reduction in the leverage level (gearing declined to 8. 48 times as on December 2019 from 9.75 times as on March 31, 2019) will also be beneficial for the company.

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