Crisil Ratings predicts a 25-30 per cent decline in revenues of RMG makers in ongoing financial year due to the prolonged lockdown and lower discretionary spending. The agency expects this fall to be sharper for exporters due to tepid discretionary spending in the US and European Union, which account for 60 per cent of India's RMG exports.
The working capital cycle of RMG makers has elongated because of higher inventory and stretched receivables, which is expected to impair their credit profiles, the report said. The last fiscal ended with 20-25 per cent higher inventory as the COVID-19 pandemic took hold and lockdowns began in late March.
With demand depressed in the first half of this fiscal, inventories will remain high, which will add to the woes of exporters and will weaken credit profiles of some large global brick-and-mortar retailers, which will stretch receivables, the agency noted.
Consequently, retailers’ operating margins will contract 250-300 basis points (bps) to 7-7.5 per cent for the sample set, despite softer cotton prices, and cost-reduction initiative. Crisil Ratings Associate Director Kiran Kavala views that due to a sharp fall in profits, s RMG makers will not have sufficient cash accruals to meet repayment obligations in the first half of this fiscal. However, they are expected to utilize the cushion available in their working capital facilities, and will be helped by the moratorium on loan repayments, the government relief package to micro, small and medium enterprises, and the COVID-19 emergency credit lines
Though cash flows are likely to improve in the second half of this fiscal, the ratios of net cash accrual to loan repayments and interest coverage will still be significantly weaker at 1.4-1.7 times and well below 3 times expected this fiscal, compared with 2.4 times and 4 times, respectively, in FY20, it added.