Expert RA, Russia's largest ratings agency, upgrades the rating of BELUGA GROUP

april 12 /2021

Ratings agency Expert RA has upgraded the credit rating of BELUGA GROUP to ruА and changed the outlook to stable. The company's previous rating was ruA- with a positive outlook.

According to the agency's official statement, the rating was upgraded due to the implementation of the company's positive outlook, which was brought about after significant improvement in the company's debt metrics. The agency also expects positive metrics in the future, confirmed by the company's strong operating and financial results during 2020.

The agency also notes above-market-average sales growth: in 2020 total sales increased by 11%, sales of the company's own products grew by 7%, and sales of imported brands rose by 42%. Meanwhile, average market growth in spirits amounted to 2%, indicating an increase in the company's market share within key niches.

The agency considers the company's exposure to market risks minimal. The agency continues to positively assess the quality of the company's strategic support, risk management system, corporate governance, and high level of information transparency: information on important operational facts and annual and quarterly reports are published in the public domain."

The Chairman of the Board of Directors Nikolay Belokopytov commented as follows: "The upgraded rating testifies to the company's sustainable development. As the agency has noted, BELUGA GROUP's business diversification, product premiumization, and development of our range of wines correspond to the strategic trends in the alcoholic beverages market. Thanks to our own production and the development of imports and distribution, including our WineLab chain, we can flexibly adapt to consumer needs and offer popular products at optimal prices.

In addition, this confirms growth in the company's reliability and creditworthiness. The liquidity forecast is positive. The size of the future projected operating flow is sufficient to support the business, pay dividends, as well as service and repay debts.

We believe that this rating action will help improve our quality as a borrower, further reduce borrowing costs, and increase the duration of our debt obligations."

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