·MALAYSIAN Rating Corp Bhd (MARC) has assigned Islamic corporate debt ratings of MARC-1ID/AAAID to Sime Darby Bhd’s proposed RM1.5bil Al-Murabahah commercial papers and medium-term notes. 

MARC in a statement said the corporate debt ratings of Sime Darby reflected the diversity of the group’s business, its solid capitalisation, strong cash-flow position and exceptional financial flexibility. 

Sime’s proposed Al-Murabahah papers and notes will be used mainly to finance the acquisition of assets, refinance existing borrowings and for working capital. 

The group’s cash-flow protection measures remained strong despite a drop in its after-tax cash flow from operations (CFO) to RM537.9mil in financial year 2002 (FY2001: RM772.3mil), mainly due to an increase in working capital funding requirements. 

Accordingly, the group’s CFO interest coverage slipped to 11.49 times against the increase in funding costs. 

The group’s solid capitalisation is based on its huge shareholders’ funds of RM7.2bil as of fiscal 2002. 

The debt leverage of the group stood at a low 0.13 time in FY2002 (FY2001: 0.10 time). 

Financial flexibility was exceptional, drawn from the group’s large market capitalisation, strong cash-flow position and a comfortable level of unused credit lines, which were denominated in numerous currencies, MARC said. – Bernama 

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