Fitch Ratings, one of the top three global credit rating agencies, has maintained a Long-Term Issuer Default Rating (IDR) of ‘B+’ for Autonom Services SA and revised the company’s outlook from negative to stable. The outlook revision reflects Autonom’s resilient financial performance since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, notably regarding profitability, asset quality, funding and liquidity.
“Since the early days of Autonom, we wanted to build a solid and sustainable business model, based on high liquidity and solvency. This approach has strongly contributed to consolidation and financial development in 2020, as well as maintaining profitability even in the context of a major global crisis. We are pleased that the measures we took in 2020 to respond to the coronavirus pandemic were acknowledged and appreciated by Fitch Ratings. We managed to improve our performance in the eyes of an independent agency, progressing from a negative to stable outlook within just a year, a year that happens to be one of the most challenging in our industry to date. We believe that this performance is due to our way of operating, based on values and autonomy. It has guided us in all the decisions taken in 2020,” said Marius Stefan (photo L), co-shareholder of Autonom International, a group of companies that includes Autonom Services.
The rating update was issued by Fitch on June 3rd, 2021, as a follow-up to the initial rating published on June 3rd, 2020. In the report, Fitch noted that Autonom’s B+ stable rating reflects the company’s small but growing franchise. The rating also reflects the favorable context of the Romanian market, where there is a growing demand for operational leasing services. Fitch considered Autonom’s good profitability in 2020, supported by a business model with limited reliance on short-term rentals, good asset quality, and an experienced management team. In addition, the moderate exposure to business relying on tourism and airport traffic contributed to reducing vulnerability to future lockdowns and lower international travel volumes.
Fitch expects Autonom’s performance to further recover in 2021. In 2020, a year marked by a global pandemic that brought multiple challenges to the markets and sectors in which the company operates, Autonom Group increased operating revenue by 10% and significantly strengthened its financial position. Consequently, the Group posted revenues of 327 million lei and a net profit of 7.2 million lei.
“Despite 2020 being extremely difficult, last year confirmed to us that Autonom’s business model is agile and sustainable, built to withstand shocks. For 2021, we are actively looking at the local market, analyzing potential acquisitions of companies with a compatible business model. We expect a double-digit growth rate of revenue and a significantly improved profitability compared to 2020. Moreover, we believe that the Autonom Group is at the beginning of a new cycle of accelerated growth,” said Dan Stefan, co-shareholder of Autonom International, a group of companies that includes Autonom Services.
In the update, Fitch also maintained the ‘B-‘ rating of Autonom’s corporate bonds issuance that is tradable on the Main Market of the Bucharest Stock Exchange under symbol AUT24E. The corporate bonds issuance that floated on BVB in December 2019 has a total value of 20 million euro.
Fitch’s credit ratings relating are an opinion on the relative ability of an entity to meet financial commitments such as interest, repayment of principal, insurance claims or counterparty obligations. Receiving the credit rating is part of a transparency strategy adapted by Autonom.