RIO DE JANEIRO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Brazilian companies will face a challenging environment in 2014 due to the national economic slowdown, according to a new Fitch Ratings report.
Fitch projects 1.9% and 2.5% of Brazilian GDP growth for 2014 and 2015, respectively, in comparison to the 4.3% averaged between 2007 and 2011.
'While these growth levels are anemic relative to prior years, the 25 largest Brazilian issuers rated by Fitch are overall well-positioned to withstand a slowdown in demand, due to their strong liquidity profiles,' said Mauro Storino, Senior Director at Fitch.
Fifteen of the 25 companies are rated 'AA(bra)' or above. If the five entities rated 'AA-(bra)' are included, the percentage of companies rated 'AA-(bra)' or above represents 80% of the largest 25 issuers in the local debenture market.
The companies' overall credit quality improved during the past 12 months with more than 50% experiencing a positive rating action, while only 16% suffered from a negative rating action.
Brazil's local capital market has a track record of being restrictive to companies rated below the 'A(bra)'category, and Fitch does not foresee any changes in the market's appetite for riskier credits in the short term. The agency expects a higher number of issuances in the first semester of 2014, as companies strengthen their balance sheets ahead of the election.
Fitch also expects lower performance of Banco Nacional de Desenvolvimento Economico e Social (BNDES) in the concession of long-term financing, which should be primarily destined to infrastructure projects.
Almost 30% of the largest 25 Brazilian issuers are in the power sector, which is in a distressed scenario due to low hydrological conditions and high energy spot prices. Companies related to the profitable transportation sector represent an additional 20% of the portfolio.
The full report, titled 'Fitch 25 Brazil', is available on the Fitch Ratings web site at www.fitchratings.com.
Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'.
Applicable Criteria and Related Research: Capital Structure Overview (for Fitch 25 Largest Brazilian Local Issuers)