Its long Term Bank Facilities-Term Loan and Long Term Bank Facilities-Cash Credit were downgraded from CARE A to CARE BBB, while Short Term Bank Facilities-Bank Guarantee was downgraded from CARE A1 to CARE A3+.
CARE said that the revision in the ratings assigned to the bank facilities of ZMCL and removal of the credit watch factor in the removal of support of Essel group built into the ratings due to the weakened financial flexibility at the Essel group level. The stress in the infrastructure segment and the elevated leverage with the promoter and holding companies constrains the Essel group’s ability to support the group entities when required, it said.
The rating agency feels that the substantial decline in the market capitalisation of the listed entities of the Essel Group over the last one year and the high level of pledging of the promoter holding in these companies has further reduced the financial flexibility of the group.
Amongst the total promoter holding of 57.74% in ZMCL as on 31st March 2019, 93.84% has been pledged. Although the Essel group has been in the process of monetising its infrastructure business, as also selling up stake in the flagship business Zee Entertainment Enterprises Limited (ZEEL) so as to improve the liquidity position of the group, the progress on the same has been slow.
Also, the revision in the rating of ZMCL also factors in the weakening of the capital structure and liquidity position of the company at the consolidated level, especially after factoring the corporate guarantee extended to Diligent Media Corporation Limited (DMCL).
Market experts feel that the ratings assigned to the bank facilities of ZMCL continue to factor in the high competitive intensity in the news broadcasting space, and highly regulated industry segment.