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Rating Action:

Moody's assigns A1 rating to Singtel Group Treasury Pte Ltd's proposed USD 10-year notes

20 Aug 2018

Singapore, August 20, 2018 -- Moody's Investors Service, ("Moody's") has assigned an A1 rating to the proposed issuance of 10-year, USD benchmark senior unsecured notes by Singtel Group Treasury Pte. Ltd. ("SGT"), under the unconditional and irrevocable guarantee of Singapore Telecommunications Limited (Singtel, A1). The notes will mature in 2028.

The rating outlook is stable.

RATINGS RATIONALE

These notes are being issued under SGT's S$10 billion Euro Medium-Term Note Programme. All debt under this programme ranks pari-passu with all other unsubordinated and unsecured obligations of SGT and Singtel. The proceeds will be used for refinancing and general corporate purposes.

"We expect Singtel will use all of the bond proceeds to refinance maturing debt, and as such impact on leverage will be neutral. This bond issue will also help to extend Singtel's debt maturity profile and further strengthen its liquidity position," says Nidhi Dhruv, a Moody's Vice President and Senior Analyst.

Singtel has about S$1.3 billion in maturing debt over the next 12 months.

Moody's expects Singtel's net adjusted leverage to remain at 1.9-2.0x for FY2019 and FY2020, on the back of continuing capital expenditures and high shareholder returns.

In addition, Singtel's free cash flows will remain negative over FY 2019 and FY2020 reflecting the high levels of capex (S$2.3-2.4 billion in FY2019) and shareholder returns. The company has guided to dividends of 17.5 cents per share for FY2019 and FY2020 (around S$2.8-2.9 billion).

"Singtel faces headwinds in its core operating markets of Singapore and Australia, owing to a new entrant - TPG Telecom Limited - launching services by early-2019. While we expect Singtel and its Australian subsidiary, Singtel Optus to be able to defend market share and compete effectively, the industry-wide price competition will impact Singtel's operating and financial performance in FY2020," adds Dhruv, also Moody's lead analyst for Singtel.

Nonetheless, Moody's expects the company's stable earnings base in Singapore and Australia, regionally diversified cash flow stream and strong liquidity profile to remain supportive of its a3 baseline credit assessment. Singtel's final rating of A1 incorporates a two-notch uplift for expected support from its major shareholder, Temasek Holdings (Private) Limited (Aaa stable).

The outlook remains stable, reflecting our expectation that Singtel will maintain the competitive strength of its operations in Singapore and Australia, while maintaining stable leverage and good liquidity.

Singtel's fundamental credit strength may experience upward pressure if overall profitability improves, coupled with an absolute reduction in borrowings, such that its adjusted EBITDA margins stabilize in the 30-35% range and adjusted net debt/EBITDA (based on cash dividends being added back to core EBITDA) falls below 1.75-1.80x on a consistent basis.

Downward pressure on the underlying rating would occur if Singtel's leverage metrics weaken further, such that adjusted net debt/EBITDA is in excess of 2.0x on a consistent basis.

Downward pressure could also build if the company undertakes further material capital returns in the near term, potentially in conjunction with a cash/debt-funded acquisition, and/or there is evidence of prospective weakness in operating results within the company's Australian operations or in cash dividends received from overseas associates. EBITDA margins remaining below 30% on a sustained basis would also pressure the rating.

In addition to the factors listed above, Singtel's rating may also be impacted by material changes in the ratings of its support provider, Temasek, or industry developments that materially undermine Singtel's relationship with the government -- these would include a reduction in Temasek's shareholding below 50%.

The methodologies used in these ratings were Telecommunications Service Providers published in January 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.

Singapore Telecommunications Limited (Singtel) is the leading integrated communications services provider in Singapore. It is also the second largest integrated telecommunications operator in Australia through its wholly owned subsidiary, SingtTel Optus Pty Limited.

Singtel also has a number of investments in cellular operators throughout the region, which give it a regional footprint across 21 countries, covering around 735 million mobile subscribers as of 30 June 2018. Singtel is 52%-owned by Temasek, which is wholly owned by the Singapore government.

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.

Nidhi Dhruv, CFA
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Corporate Finance Group
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

Laura Acres
MD - Corporate Finance
Corporate Finance Group
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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