Bahrain’s tourism and financial sectors have been hit by the unrest that has gripped the country and its 2011 for the kingdom to restore its reputation as a business-friendly hub will not be repaired until later this year. “It will take at least until the second half of the year until investors reconsider [investments]. We’re looking at a lost year,” said Jarmo Kotilaine, chief economist at financial firm NCB Capital.
He estimated the immediate loss to Bahrain’s economy at $200 million due to lower output during unrest.
Bahrain’s hotel industry, which relies on a regular calendar of business conferences to keep rooms full, has taken the most severe hit.
So far, one project finance conference has moved a long-planned event to Dubai and this month’s Spring of Culture festival has been downsized.
“You’re not going to believe it, I have two guests in my hotel right now,” said Ahmed Sanad, head of Bahrain’s hotel and restaurant association and owner of a one-star hotel.
Moody’s downgrades NIG to B2, maintains negative outlook (Kuwait)
Moody’s Investors Service has today downgraded to B2 from B1 the Corporate Family Rating (CFR) and Probability of Default Rating (PDR) of National Industries Group S.A.K. (“NIG”), as well as the instrument rating for the $475m sukuk issued by NIG Sukuk Ltd. The outlook on the ratings remains negative.
“The rating downgrade reflects Moody’s increased concerns with regard to the upcoming refinancing of NIG’s August 2012 $475m sukuk, given the lack of visible and tangible measures taken by the company to bolster its capital structure, which is highly geared with an estimated market value leverage of around 50%,” says Martin Kohlhase, a Moody’s Assistant Vice President – Analyst and lead analyst for NIG.
“Although the company has taken steps to bolster the liquidity profile it still remains geared towards the short term and relies to a significant degree on uncommitted facilities. However, we understand that the company may shortly put in place further longer-term facilities which could alleviate some liquidity challenges,” adds Mr Kohlhase.
Moody’s would consider downgrading NIG’s ratings if the company were to fail to address its August 2012 $475m sukuk maturity well in advance (minimum 12 months, i.e. by August 2011) by either showing timely execution of a firm back-up plan or by seeking committed alternative refinancing options to ensure timely and full payment. Moody’s negative outlook on NIG’s ratings reflects this specific refinancing risk as well as the company’s general susceptibility to refinancing its other short-term facilities.
National Industries Group (NIG), based in Kuwait City, is a publicly listed investment holding company, and one of the largest publicly traded companies in Kuwait. Its business includes strategic and financial stakes in companies across Kuwait, the GCC and Europe, focusing primarily on the building materials, specialist engineering, petrochemicals, finance, real estate, oil & gas services and energy sectors.