Financial

Moody’s affirms A1 issuer rating for PIF

The ratings agency also maintains Saudi Real Estate Refinance A2 ranking, but changes outlook to ‘positive’

Moody’s Investors Service has maintained the long- and short-term issuer ratings of Saudi Real Estate Refinance Company (SRC) at ‘A2/P-1’ and changed the outlook to positive from stable.

Moody’s also kept the ‘Aa2.sa/SA-1’ long- and short-term national scale issuer ratings.

This was mainly driven by Moody’s affirmation of the ‘A1’ issuer rating for the Public Investment Fund (PIF), the parent and support provider of Saudi Real Estate Refinance.

The rating highlighted the company’s solid asset quality and strong capitalisation, which are backed by ongoing and still-evolving profitability, a high reliance on wholesale funding, and concentrated exposure to the relatively new mortgage market in the Kingdom.

In early February 2023, PIF & AeroFarms sign deal to develop vertical farms across MENA and, later in the month, PIF said it raised US $5.5bn with a second green bond.

Meanwhile, the positive outlook reflects the PIF’s potentially stronger capacity to support the Saudi company at times of stress. It also indicates that a downgrade in the near term is less likely to happen.

Nonetheless, downward pressure on the company’s ratings could develop through severe losses on its mortgage portfolio, which might erode a significant portion of its capital, thereby heightening liquidity and market risks.

Moody’s Investors Service noted, however, that the ratings could be further upgraded if PIF’s ability to anchor Saudi Real Estate Refinance further improves.

In mid February 2023, PIF said it invested $1.3bn in Saudi construction firms.

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