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Rating agencies downgrade Indonesian companies on debt repayment concerns amid COVID-19

first_imgThe rationale behind the ratings decisions varies for each company but revolves around liquidity risks, concerns over debt repayment ability, a sharp rupiah depreciation, low commodity prices and overall weak demand.“The pandemic has disrupted the economy and hit almost every industry there is in Indonesia. It’s no wonder that the rating agencies are casting doubt on the companies’ business processes and their ability to repay their debts,” Anugrah Sekuritas Indonesia fixed income analyst Ramdhan Ario Maruto told The Jakarta Post.The government has projected economic growth to reach 2.3 percent this year, the lowest in 21 years, or contract by 0.4 percent in the worst-case scenario, as COVID-19 disrupts economic activities. Meanwhile the rupiah is expected to hover between Rp 17,500 and Rp 20,000 per United States dollar under the worst-case scenario as foreign investors dump risky assets, including those of Indonesia. International rating agencies are questioning Indonesian companies’ ability to repay their debts and have consequently downgraded their ratings and outlooks amid the COVID-19 pandemic.Moody’s Investor Service has lowered the ratings of property developers PT Agung Podomoro Land and PT Alam Sutera Realty, as well as tire producer PT Gajah Tunggal and coalminer PT Bumi Resources. Fitch Ratings has downgraded private lender PT Bank Central Asia (BCA) and Standard & Poor’s (S&P) has put Alam Sutera on credit watch negative.Credit rating outlooks on several companies have also been revised to negative, from stable previously. This includes oil and gas firm PT Medco Energi Internasional and textile company PT Pan Brothers by Moody’s and property developers Alam Sutera and PT Lippo Karawaci by Fitch Ratings. S&P has also assigned a negative outlook for poultry firm PT Japfa Comfeed and Medco Energi. The situation has forced businesses to close and companies to lay off workers, reducing people’s purchasing power significantly, said Ramdhan.“People will, for instance, be less likely to buy homes at this time. They are more concerned about fulfilling their own basic needs during times like this rather than buying a house,” he said, explaining the reason behind the property developers’ downgrades.Given the widespread impact of the pandemic on the overall economy, Ramdhan also warned that the rating downgrades could also extend to Indonesia’s rating as well, just as Fitch and S&P have done for the United Kingdom and China.Indonesia’s sovereign credit rating from the three top rating agencies currently stands at the lower-end of investment grade, which allows a full range of institutions worldwide to invest in the country’s debt papers. Any downgrade would return the country’s rating to junk, which would result in only selected investors being eligible to invest in the country’s financial assets.“But as long as the government can maintain the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio at a safe level, I think the rating agencies would at least affirm our ratings even during times of hardship like today,” he said. A new government regulation in lieu of law (Perppu) would allow the state budget deficit-to-GDP ratio to surpass the previous legal limit of 3 percent as President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo expects the budget deficit to reach 5.07 percent of GDP, although government debt-to-GDP would be maintained at 60 percent.For the private sector, the sharp depreciation of the rupiah, Asia’s worst performing currency so far this year, will lead to a spike in debt repayment costs, at a time when demand has been severely hit by the government’s large-scale social restrictions and public health emergency measures.Read also: Indonesia braces for recession, activates crisis protocolMoody’s cited heightening risks over liquidity and ability to repay debts as the primary concerns for Agung Podomoro’s and Alam Sutera’s ratings, while Gajah Tunggal was downgraded because of the company’s lack of mitigation amid the sharp rupiah depreciation that could affect the company’s financial performance.“If sustained, [the rupiah’s depreciation] will drive up debt and weaken earnings before interest, depreciation and amortization [EBITDA] margins,” Moody’s analyst Stephanie Cheong said in a statement on March 31.Moody’s senior vice president Vikas Halan said on March 23 that it was revising Medco’s outlook to negative as it expected the firm’s credit profile to deteriorate if oil prices remain low for a prolonged period.Pan Brothers’ outlook was also changed to negative as concerns grow over the company’s ability to refinance its loan that falls due on February 2021, given the challenging credit conditions and heightened global and regional turbulence.Meanwhile, Fitch Ratings lowered BCA’s rating to BBB- from BBB with a stable outlook: “The downgrades reflect Fitch’s view of the weaker operating environment for Indonesia’s banks as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” it wrote in a statement on March 24. Such conditions could put pressure on the bank’s asset quality and reduce profitability as a result of higher provisioning, the statement states.The pandemic is also the basis of Fitch’s decision to revise its outlook on Lippo Karawaci, which will have difficulty improving cash flow or launching new projects this year amid the challenging circumstances.S&P’s decision to put Alam Sutra on credit watch negative means the agency could downgrade the company’s rating over concerns of slower-than-expected refinancing efforts on its US$175 million notes due in April 2021.Topics :last_img read more

Governor Wolf’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs Releases AAPI Language Education Schools (AAPLES) Initiative

first_img March 29, 2018 Governor Wolf’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs Releases AAPI Language Education Schools (AAPLES) Initiative SHARE Email Facebook Twitter Advocate to state and local educational institutions for space to hold classesSeek private and federal grants for resources for capacity buildingShare curriculum, instructional materials, and pedagogical strategies for mutual benefitHold professional development meetings, with the scholarly input of educational faculty in Penn State and other interested universitiesCollaborate in undertaking research on home/school connections, student needs, learning strategies, and instructional practices to enhance teaching.Such schools may include teaching arrangements that are not formally established such as those that meet outside of a school setting. In areas where no such arrangements exist, local community leaders or parents who intend to start schools can send their information. This network will help provide information and resources to start community-based schools in your area.The AAPLES initiative is part of ongoing work by the Commission to learn about the challenges facing the AAPI communities and how the Commission can leverage its collective strengths to effectively advocate, promote resources for, and best serve the state’s diverse AAPI communities.Any community-organized school interested in participating in AAPLES may complete the online form for their community-based school here; registration is free. Asian Pacific American Affairs,  Education,  Press Release Harrisburg, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf’s Advisory Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs released online a statewide initiative entitled Asian American and Pacific Islander Language Education Schools (AAPLES).The Commission is looking to establish a network of community-organized schools in Pennsylvania. Community-organized schools are community-based schools that teach Asian or Pacific Islander heritage languages, English as a second language, and other school subjects specifically to students from Asian and Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities.The purpose of the AAPLES initiative is to bring together teachers and administrators of these schools to:last_img read more

Michael Avenatti Charged with Stealing $300,000 from Stormy Daniels

first_imgA federal grand jury has indicted celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti in two alleged schemes.He is charged with fraud and aggravated identity theft involving former client Stormy Daniels, as well as attempting to extort more than $20 million from Nike.Court documents state that Avenatti stole “a significant portion” of Daniels’ advance for her book contract, and used it for his own business purposes. Daniels is referred to as “Victim-1” in the indictment.Avenatti allegedly took around $300,000 from Daniels. He represented Daniels in the “hush-money” scandal that resulted in President Trump’s former attorney, Michael Cohen, being charged with campaign-finance violations for paying several women to not disclose their alleged affairs with Trump.Cohen, who has since pleaded guilty to those crimes as well as others, is serving a three-year prison sentence.Before the indictment became public, Avenatti tweeted: “No monies relating to Ms. Daniels were ever misappropriated or mishandled. She received millions of dollars worth of legal services and we spent huge sums in expenses. She directly paid only $100.00 for all that she received. I look forward to a jury hearing the evidence.”Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, says Avenatti “had dealt with me extremely dishonestly.”In response, Avenatti says he will be “fully exonerated.” He adds, “I look forward to a jury hearing all of the evidence and passing judgment on my conduct. At no time was any money misappropriated or mishandled. I will be fully exonerated once the relevant emails, contracts, text messages, and documents are presented.”36-Count Federal Indictment Alleges Avenatti Stole Millions From Clients, Didn’t Pay Taxeslast_img read more