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Lusa - Business News - Cabo Verde: Airline sale may be hindered by lack of interested parties - Fitch

London, Nov. 7, 2019 (Lusa) - The financial rating agency Fitch on Thursday said that the privatisation of all the shares of the Cabo Verde air carrier could be hindered by a lack of foreign interest and a small domestic market.
"The government plans to sell the rest of the shares of TACV (Cabo Verde Airlines) and privatise other public companies, but we believe that this intention could be undermined by the fact that there is only a small domestic market and limited interest from foreign investors," Fitch analysts wrote in a report on ratings in sub-Saharan Africa.
In the document, sent to customers and to which Lusa had access, Fitch recalled that the government sold 51% of the carrier in March and that, despite still having €105 million of the company's old debt, it can reduce the number of future transfers.
State-owned companies, moreover, are presented as one of the greatest dangers to the financial stability of the archipelago, with the debts of these companies representing 26% of GDP, of which 7% are guaranteed by the state.
The financial rating agency attributes a rating of B, with a view to Stable outlook, highlighting that the rating balances the high public debt and external indebtedness, the vulnerabilities of large public companies and the high dependence on tourism, in the face of strong governance, long maturities and a low debt service relative to the external public debt.
Cabo Verde is one of the countries with the highest ratio of public debt to GDP, representing 123% at the end of the year, twice the average of 58% recorded by countries with a rating of B by Fitch, but analysts point out that the ratio should fall to less than 100% of GDP in 2025 if the government adheres to the strategy of budgetary consolidation and controls the costs of public companies.
In terms of economic growth, Fitch estimated a 5% expansion of the economy between this year and 2021, slightly below the 5.5% recorded last year, and pointed out that important investments in maritime and air connectivity can further increase the growth potential of the archipelago.
In the document, Fitch also wrote that although external debt represented 41% at the end of last year, a figure considered "high", the risks are mitigated by being concessional loans, by the fixed exchange rate of the escudo against the euro and by robust reserves in foreign currency.
In the report, Fitch said, at a regional level, that public debt in sub-Saharan Africa should stabilise at 56% this year, which compares with the 83.8% forecast for Angola, 123% for Cabo Verde and 100.7% for Mozambique, the three Portuguese-language countries analysed by Fitch Ratings.
Among the 19 countries analysed by Fitch, three have a Negative outlooks, one has a Positive outlooks and all the others have Stable outlooks.
Fitch expects growth of 4.1% this year, slightly above the 4% of 2018, and expects a slightly higher growth in 2020, estimating that the two largest African economies, Nigeria and South Africa, have a growth in line with that of last year, and anticipate that Angola can simply avoid a new contraction of GDP in 2020, with the rest of the region dividing itself between importers of raw materials, which will have a rapid growth, and a group of exporters of these materials that are still recovering from the shock.

Agency : LUSA

Date : 2019-11-08 08:47:05


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