Rat­ings up­grade af­ter repo­si­tion­ing

The Star Early Edition - - COMPANIES - – Sandile Mchunu

THE GLOBAL Credit Rat­ings has up­graded Sappi South­ern Africa to A+(ZA) long-term and A1+(ZA) in the short term, with a sta­ble out­look. The last rat­ing for Sappi was con­ducted in Au­gust 2016, when its long-term was on A(ZA) and short term at A1(ZA), with a sta­ble out­look. Sappi’s up­grade comes af­ter rat­ings agen­cies down­graded five South African banks, FNB, Absa, Stan­dard Bank, Ned­bank and In­vestec, on Mon­day. Sappi chief ex­ec­u­tive Steve Bin­nie said the up­grade proved that Sappi was on the right path, hav­ing been able to re­duce its debt. “This rat­ings up­grade for Sappi South­ern Africa is fur­ther con­fir­ma­tion of Sappi’s suc­cess in im­ple­ment­ing its busi­ness strat­egy. We have now achieved our debt re­duc­tion and lev­er­age tar­gets, and our fi­nance costs have ma­te­ri­ally been re­duced,” said Bin­nie. The com­pany’s ef­forts to re­po­si­tion the Sappi group were pro­gress­ing well. “Our dis­solv­ing wood pulp busi­ness con­tin­ues to de­liver ex­cel­lent re­sults, and our spe­cial­ity and pack­ag­ing pa­pers seg­ment is grow­ing ahead of fore­casts,” he added. Sappi shares were 0.23 per­cent up yes­ter­day to close at R88.20 on the JSE.

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