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Rating Action:

Moody's affirms Delhi International Airport's Ba2 rating and stable outlook

22 Apr 2019

Singapore, April 22, 2019 -- Moody's Investors Service has affirmed Delhi International Airport Limited's (DIAL) Ba2 corporate family rating (CFR) and senior secured ratings.

The ratings outlook is maintained at stable.

RATINGS RATIONALE

"The ratings affirmation principally reflects our expectation that DIAL's financial metrics will deteriorate but remain above the minimum tolerance level set for its ratings category despite a material increase in the cost of DIAL's major project 3A expansion. In addition the ratings continue to be supported by DIAL's substantial balance of cash and short term investments in hand, which provide the airport with some additional financial flexibility over the next 12 months," says Spencer Ng, a Moody's Vice President and Senior Analyst.

"DIAL's ability to maintain financial metrics above the ratings tolerance level will however depend heavily on passenger traffic staying at or above the level assumed in our base case projections, continued growth in its non-aeronautical revenue and additional land monetization to help fund DIAL's large expansion. Any material debt funded cost increases for the project 3A expansion would also be a challenge for the company's ratings." adds Ng.

Over the next 2-3 years, Moody's expects DIAL's funds from operations / debt to remain weak, with a very limited buffer above the minimum tolerance level of 3%-4%.

Moody's financial projections assume that: (1) aeronautical tariffs will remain at the current level during the third regulatory period between April 2019 and March 2024, and (2) passenger traffic to grow at a high-single digit percentage per annum over the next 18 months.

On 29 March 2019, DIAL completed a transaction to lease around 4.9 million square feet of commercial land to Bharti Realty. As part of the transaction, Bharti will make upfront payments of INR18 billion to DIAL, of which, around INR4 billion has been received. Bharti will also pay the airport an on-going license fee of INR3.6 billion per annum during the initial 17-year term of the lease.

Upfront proceeds and on-going revenue from the Bharti transaction are key to DIAL's ability to absorb the increase in the cost of its project 3A expansion, which has been revised up to INR98 billion from the previous management's estimate of INR80 billion. According to management, bulk of the increase in the expansion budget relates to the recognition of additional GST related liabilities.

Moody's also expect passenger traffic growth to slow down from the double-digit percentage recorded in each of the past five years, because the airport's passenger base has already grown to 69 million (as at fiscal year ending 31 March 2019) from 41 million over the same period. In addition, traffic performance would be temporarily tempered by the suspension of Jet Airways operations and grounding of 737-Max 8 aircraft.

Moody's says that the impact of the Jet Airways suspension would likely be temporary in nature and manageable for DIAL at the current ratings level, considering the robust underlying demand for air travel in India and the likelihood that other airlines will step in to replace capacity lost due to Jet Airways' suspension.

From a liquidity standpoint, DIAL's management has confirmed that the airport has sufficient security deposit from Jet Airways to cover receivables currently due from the airline, which -- along with its substantial cash holdings -- would support DIAL's ability to withstand a degree of liquidity stress that might arise from ongoing deterioration in the airline's situation.

DIAL's Ba2 corporate family rating continues to reflect: (1) the airport's strong market position and robust passenger base, (2) its planned INR98 billion capacity expansion at the Indira Gandhi International Airport, (3) the evolving regulatory environment in India; and (4) its obligation to pay 45.99% of its revenue to the Airports Authority of India as a concession fee.

Upward ratings movement in the near term is unlikely, given that the airport's financial leverage will remain elevated during the expansion phase, under Moody's base case scenario.

On the other hand, Moody's could downgrade DIAL's Ba2 ratings if the airport's funds from operations to debt fall below 3%-4% on a sustained basis, which could result from: (1) a further increase in the cost of the expansion or delay to the current expansion program, (2) underperformance in DIAL's aeronautical or non-aeronautical revenue relative to Moody's expectation, or (3) lack of progress in further land monetization.

Moody's could also downgrade the ratings if there is a reduction in the available funds at the airport for the expansion, because of dividend payments or related-party transactions.

Moody's has used its Joint Default Analysis approach for Government Related Issuers in assessing DIAL's ratings, because the company is more than 20% government-owned through the Airports Authority of India, a government agency.

DIAL's Ba2 corporate family rating combines: (1) the company's Baseline Credit Assessment (BCA) of ba2; and (2) the low likelihood of support that Moody's believes the Government of India (Baa2 stable) will provide to DIAL in the event that extraordinary financial support is required. This assumption of support results in the absence of uplift to the company's BCA.

The methodologies used in these ratings were Privately Managed Airports and Related Issuers published in September 2017, and Government-Related Issuers published in June 2018. Please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of these methodologies.

Delhi International Airport Limited (DIAL) is the concessionaire for Indira Gandhi International Airport, which is located in the political capital of India under an Operations, Management and Development Agreement, entered in 2006 with the Airports Authority of India, a government agency. The concession is for a 30-year period, and DIAL has an option to extend it for another 30 years, subject to meeting it defined performance criteria.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the credit rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular credit rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

For any affected securities or rated entities receiving direct credit support from the primary entity(ies) of this credit rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this credit rating action, the associated regulatory disclosures will be those of the guarantor entity. Exceptions to this approach exist for the following disclosures, if applicable to jurisdiction: Ancillary Services, Disclosure to rated entity, Disclosure from rated entity.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

Spencer Ng
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Project & Infrastructure Finance
Moody's Investors Service Singapore Pte. Ltd.
50 Raffles Place #23-06
Singapore Land Tower
Singapore 48623
Singapore
JOURNALISTS: 852 3758 1350
Client Service: 852 3551 3077

Terry Fanous
MD-Public Proj & Infstr Fin
Project & Infrastructure Finance
JOURNALISTS: 852 3758 1350
Client Service: 852 3551 3077

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Singapore Pte. Ltd.
50 Raffles Place #23-06
Singapore Land Tower
Singapore 48623
Singapore
JOURNALISTS: 852 3758 1350
Client Service: 852 3551 3077

No Related Data.
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