Crisil forecasts 10-12% revenue growth in viscose staple yarn industry
Strong balance sheets and improved cash flows will support the credit risk profiles of manufacturers, despite substantial debt-funded capital expenditure (capex).
Revenue of the Indian viscose staple yarn (VSY) industry is set to grow 10-12 per cent on-year to an all-time high of over $ 2.5 billion this fiscal on continued strong demand — similar pace to last fiscal, said Crisil Ratings.
Even as yarn prices decline, though at a lower rate than raw material prices, overall profitability is likely to improve 200-300 basis points (bps). Strong balance sheets and improved cash flows will support the credit risk profiles of manufacturers, despite substantial debt-funded capital expenditure (capex).
A CRISIL Ratings analysis of VSY companies, accounting for over a fourth of the industry by revenue, indicates as much. VSY is an attractive alternative to cotton yarn because of its lower prices and comparable features. It logged a compound annual growth rate of 13 per cent over the last three fiscals, higher than 5 per cent for cotton yarn. During this period, VSY prices were relatively stable, ranging between Rs 200 and Rs 250 per kg. In contrast, cotton yarn prices ranged between Rs 200 and Rs 380 per kg. The removal of anti-dumping duty on imports of viscose staple fibre (VSF) in fiscal 2022 also helped steady VSY prices. Subsequently, VSY’s share of the spinning industry volume increased to over 10 per cent last fiscal from under 7 per cent in fiscal 2020.
Himank Sharma, Director, Crisil Ratings, says, “Viscose spinners’ volume is expected to grow 15 per cent on year this fiscal, supported by sustained domestic demand and a revival in export demand during the second half. Overall, segmental growth will be in low double digits.” With VSY makers’ revenue improving and spreads between VSY and VSF expanding to Rs 55-58 per kg, the operating margin is likely to improve to 11-12 per cent. Higher viscose yarn imports from China and weaker global demand impacted spreads last fiscal, causing the margin to shrink 800-900 bps.
Margin is projected to recover this fiscal as prices of major raw materials (wood pulp and chemicals) moderate, nearing steady-state levels of 12-13 per cent. VSY makers have increased capacity by 50 per cent in the past three fiscals. They are expected to add another 15 per cent capacity this fiscal with an outlay of Rs 600 crore, likely to be funded by a 1:1 debt-to-equity ratio.
Jayashree Nandakumar, Director, Crisil Ratings, states, “The capital-intensive nature of the VSY segment has resulted in players regularly contracting debt for capacity expansion. However, strong balance sheets have ensured credit risk profiles of players remain comfortable despite continuous capex.”
Gearing is expected to improve to 0.85 times as on March 31, 2024, from 1.0 times as on March 31, 2023, while the interest coverage ratio is likely to improve to 6 times this fiscal, from 4.5 times last fiscal, on the back of higher profitability. Any adverse impact of the levy of anti-dumping duty on VSF, leading to higher input costs for viscose spinners or lower domestic demand, along with a further slowdown in global demand, will bear watching.