Nueva York.- Fitch Ratings rebajó las calificaciones de Incumplimiento de Emisor (IDR) de largo plazo en moneda local y extranjera de Petróleos del Perú – Petroperú S.A. a ‘BB+’ de ‘BBB-‘. Fitch también rebajó las notas senior no garantizadas de Petroperú a ‘BB+’ desde ‘BBB-‘. Se ha mantenido el Rating Watch Negativo (RWN).
La rebaja a ‘BB+’ y el Perfil Crediticio Independiente (SCP) revisado a ccc- desde ccc reflejan un debilitamiento en la liquidez de Petroperú, un alto apalancamiento persistente, apoyo gubernamental insuficiente e incertidumbre relacionada con su capacidad para mantener sus líneas de crédito. Petroperú ha revelado públicamente en sus estados financieros no auditados una posición de caja de USD32 millones, al 30 de junio de 2022, que Fitch considera inadecuada.
Además, la compañía reveló que USD 1200 millones de sus USD 2900 millones de líneas de crédito renovables no comprometidas están bajo revisión con los prestamistas; en junio de 2022, el gobierno otorgó un préstamo intercompañía de USD750 millones, que tiene un período de gracia para pagar el capital y los intereses hasta agosto de 2024, para apoyar a la compañía. Fitch considera que este apoyo es necesario, pero se queda corto en proporcionar el colchón de liquidez que la empresa necesita para el capital de trabajo y el servicio de la deuda.
El RWN se ha mantenido para reflejar la incertidumbre con respecto a la capacidad de la empresa para proporcionar estados financieros auditados para el cierre del año 2021 a fines de septiembre, y la incertidumbre con respecto a su capacidad para mantener sus USD1.800 millones de líneas de crédito renovables, que Fitch considera cruciales para la compañía.
Fitch Downgrades Petroperu to ‘BB+’; Maintains Rating Watch Negative
New York.- 06 Sep 2022: Fitch Ratings has downgraded Petroleos del Peru – Petroperu S.A.’s Long-Term Foreign and Local Currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDR) to ‘BB+’ from ‘BBB-‘. Fitch has also downgraded Petroperu’s senior unsecured notes to ‘BB+’ from ‘BBB-‘. The Rating Watch Negative (RWN) has been maintained.
The downgrade to ‘BB+’ and revised Standalone Credit Profile (SCP) to ccc- from ccc reflects a weakening in Petroperu’s liquidity, persistent high leverage, insufficient government support, and uncertainty pertaining to its ability to maintain its credit lines. Petroperu has publicly disclosed in its unaudited financials a cash position of USD32 million, as of June 30, 2022, which Fitch deems to be inadequate.
Further, the company disclosed that USD1.2 billion of its USD2.9 billion of uncommitted revolving credit lines are under review with lenders; in June 2022, the government extended a USD750 million intercompany loan, which has a grace period to repay principal and interest through August 2024, to support the company. Fitch views this support as necessary but falls short in providing the liquidity buffer the company needs for working capital and debt service.
The RWN has been maintained to reflect uncertainty regarding the company’s ability to provide audited financials for year-end 2021 by the end of September, and the uncertainty regarding its ability to maintain its USD1.8 billion of revolving credit lines, which Fitch’s deems as crucial for the company.
KEY RATING DRIVERS
Government Related Entity: Petroperu’s ratings are linked with the sovereign’s through Fitch’s GRE criteria. The company is rated on a top-down-minus-two basis due to a lowering of its GRE assessment score from 35 to 27.5 as a result of the downward revision of the financial implications of a default from ‘strong’ to ‘moderate’ and support track record from ‘strong’ to ‘moderate.’ These factors coupled with a more than four notch differential between the SCP and that of the sovereign rating, resulted in a ‘BB+’ rating.
Status, Ownership and Control designation has remained as ‘very strong.’ Petroperu is 100% owned by the Peruvian government, through the Ministry of Energy and Mines (60%) and the Ministry of Economy and Finance (40%). The downward revision of the support track record to moderate reflects Fitch’s view that recent government support was inadequate and did not strengthen the company’s weak liquidity position and address it elevated leverage, both of which are deemed unsustainable. The government extended an intercompany loan with a grace period through August 2024, but this does not constitute strong support. Fitch views an equity injection, capitalization of its loan, and/or further government guarantee of Petroperu’s debt as favorable and will likely strengthen the support and track record score.
High Leverage: Petroperu’s gross debt/EBITDA is estimated to have declined to around 14.0x during 2021 from 24x in 2020, primarily due to a rebound in sales during 2021. Fitch estimates Petroperu will maintain a structural debt close to USD5.0 billion during the next two years. Gross leverage is projected to be close to 8.0x in 2022 before falling to around 5.3x during 2023 as the Talara Refinery ramps up.
Operational Cash Flow Volatility: Petroperu’s cash flow generation is sensitive to changes in oil prices. Since Peru is a net importer of crude, elevated oil prices result in a compression of its profit margins. Operational interruptions to its transportation business, including disruptions related to the actions of local communities, further exacerbate cash flow volatility. Petroperu’s cash flow volatility experienced in 2021 has continued into 2022. The completion of the Talara refinery will dramatically lower capex for the company past 2022; it will also increase operational efficiency, and predictable crack spreads should translate into stronger EBITDA margins over the rating horizon.
Regulatory Risk: Petroperu is exposed to changes in the Peruvian Technical Decree. In 2010 the prohibition of commercializing diesel with more than 50ppm of sulphur in Lima and Callao was extended to other regions. This restriction, combined with other factors, affected Petroperu’s costs, reducing gross profit margins from around 15% to, or below, 9% after the implementation of the regulation. It became necessary for the company to invest approximately USD5 billion, primarily for PMRT’s expansion into a highly complex new refinery.
ESG – Financial Transparency: Petroperu has an ESG Relevance Score of ‘5’ for Financial Transparency, reflecting the governance issues and weakness related to financial transparency as evidenced by the delay in the financial audit of YE statements, and its strained relationship with the auditing firm. ESG Relevance Scores of 5 are highly relevant credit considerations and impact the rating on an individual basis.
Petroperu’s rating linkage to the Peruvian sovereign rating is in line with the linkage present for most national oil and gas companies (NOCs) in the region, including Empresa Nacional de Petroleo (Enap; A-/Stable), YPF S.A. (CCC), Ecopetrol S.A. (BB+/Stable) and Petroleo Brasileiro S.A. (Petrobras; BB-/Stable).
In Latin America most NOCs are of significant strategic importance for energy supply to their countries, and a default could have potentially negative social and financial implications at a national level. Like its peers, Petroperu has legal ties to the government, through its majority ownership and strong operational control.
Petroperu’s ratings also reflect the company’s strong domestic market position, with 35% of the country’s refining output. The ratings are constrained by its weak capital structure and exposure to political interference risk.
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