Rupee depreciation to increase net leverage: Ind-Ra

Mumbai, Jan 24 (IANS) Credit ratings agency India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) on Tuesday forecast that the aggregate net leverage of top 100 Indian non-financial foreign exchange (FX) borrowers will increase in the event of a 10 per cent rupee depreciation in 2017-18.

Besides, the firm said that top corporates are unprepared for managing foreign exchange (FX) risk with 64 per cent of exposure being unhedged.

According to the agency’s report — Corporates Unprepared for Managing Foreign Exchange (FX) Risk — the depreciation of the rupee will increase the aggregate net leverage, while interest coverage will reduce.

“Based on the shift in net leverage and interest coverage of these corporates, Ind-Ra estimates 54 of the 100 corporates are highly sensitive to rupee depreciation; while 19 and 27 corporates exhibit moderate and low sensitivity, respectively,” the credit ratings agency said in the report.

The study noted that rupee depreciation will lead to deterioration in the credit profile of 75 out of the 100 corporates.

“These 75 corporates account for 82 per cent of the total debt worth Rs 21.8 trillion. The aggregate net leverage of the remaining 25 corporates holding 18 per cent of the debt will improve,” the report said.

The credit ratings agency further pointed out that of the total 19 sectors forming a part of the study — 10 are highly sensitive to rupee movement, of which seven will be negatively impacted and three will reap positive benefits out of rupee depreciation.

The report elaborated that the total FX exposure stood at Rs 19.5 trillion – the aggregate hedge cover of which was 36 per cent.

The agency stated that the FX risk of corporates has moderated over the last four years, as India’s overall trade deficit reduced to $119 billion in 2015-16 from $190 billion in 2012-13.

The widening trade deficit could intensify the impact on the credit profile of corporates unless currency risk management improves significantly, the report explained.