Rating Rationale
January 02, 2019 | Mumbai
UPL Limited
Rating removed from 'Watch Negative'; Ratings Reaffirmed
Rating Action
Total Bank Loan Facilities Rated Rs.2500 Crore
Long Term Rating CRISIL AA+/Negative (Removed from 'Rating Watch with Negative Implications'; Rating reaffirmed) 
Short Term Rating CRISIL A1+ (Reaffirmed) 
Rs.500 Crore Non Convertible Debentures CRISIL AA+/Negative (Removed from 'Rating Watch with Negative Implications'; Rating reaffirmed) 
Rs.1000 Crore Commercial Paper (Enhanced from Rs.900 Crore) CRISIL A1+ (Reaffirmed)
1 crore = 10 million
Refer to annexure for Details of Instruments & Bank Facilities
Detailed Rationale
CRISIL has removed its rating on the long term bank facilities and NCD of UPL Limited (UPL) from 'Rating Watch with Negative Implications'. The rating have been reaffirmed at 'CRISIL AA+' and a 'Negative' outlook is assigned to the long term rating and NCD. The commercial paper and short term rating is reaffirmed at 'CRISIL A1+'.

The long term rating was placed on 'rating watch with negative implications' following an announcement in July 2018 by UPL to acquire Arysta Lifesciences Inc (Arysta) through its wholly owned subsidiary, UPL Corporation Ltd (UPL Corp), for USD 4.2 billion. The acquisition is being funded through an equity investment of USD 1.2 billion in UPL Corp by a wholly owned subsidiary of Abu Dhabi Investment Authority and private equity firm, TPG Capital, and through debt of USD 3 billion, which will have a bullet repayment at the end of five years. The acquisition, which is subject to regulatory and other approvals, is expected to be completed in fourth quarter of fiscal 2019.

The proposed acquisition will solidify UPL's market position in the global agrochemical space, catapulting it to the 5th position (from 9th) and also making UPL the 4th largest player in the global seeds market. Further, revenue growth will be healthy and profitability will receive a strong fillip due to better margins of Arysta.

Although the debt to be raised for the acquisition will result in moderation in key credit metrics such as interest cover and debt / Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) until fiscal 2020, gradual improvement in these metrics is expected thereafter, backed by better economies of scale and synergy benefits. Given the moderation in credit metrics, UPL's ability to take on further material bolt-on large acquisitions over the medium term may necessitate raising of equity at UPL or UPL Corp. UPL's ability to restore its credit metrics to levels commensurate with its rating category, will remain a monitorable.

The rating continues to reflect UPL's strong business risk profile supported by solid market position, diverse geographical contribution of revenues, and healthy profitability supported by sound operating efficiencies, leading to sizeable annual cash generation.  Its financial risk profile is expected to remain adequate over the medium term, despite moderation in credit metrics owing to mainly debt funded acquisition of Arysta. These strengths are offset by large working capital requirements and susceptibility to risks inherent in the agrochemical sector.

Analytical Approach

CRISIL has combined the business and financial risk profiles of UPL and its subsidiaries, as all the companies, collectively referred to as the UPL group, are under a common management and have close operational linkages and fungible cash flows. CRISIL follows a moderate integration approach for investment in associates and joint ventures in which UPL has significant influence but not a controlling interest-specifically, CRISIL factors in UPL's share in the profit of these entities and any incremental investment required.

Goodwill on acquisition of Arysta has been amortised over a period of 15 years, commencing from fiscal 2018. Consequently, reported profit after tax, net worth and ratio computations are adjusted.

Please refer Annexure - Details of Consolidation, which captures the list of entities considered and their analytical treatment of consolidation.

Key Rating Drivers & Detailed Description
* Large scale with diverse geographical presence and wide product portfolio: The UPL group is among the top 10 players in the global agrochemicals industry. The revenue base is well diversified, with 80% generated from markets such as Latin America, Europe, and the US, in fiscal 2018. Wider geographic reach reduces susceptibility to cyclicality in demand from any one region. The group is also present across the crop lifecycle, from seeds, seed-treatment products, pre- and post-harvest products, to storage-treatment products. CRISIL believes UPL's business risk profile will remain healthy, post the acquisition of Arysta, also aided by a combined portfolio of 13,000 registrations and over 200 active ingredients. Revenues from Europe and Africa would increase as Arysta has a strong presence in Europe, Middle East and Africa. The combined revenues are expected to reach about USD 5 billion after one year of combined operations. UPL will become the 5th largest agrochemical and 4th largest seed company globally.
* Sound operating efficiencies supporting healthy profitability: Backward integration and focus on supply-chain management have strengthened operating efficiencies. As a sizeable portion of raw material and power requirement is met in-house, the group is assured a steady supply, with lesser price volatility. Flexible and multi-product manufacturing facilities, and the robust supply chain and distribution network have kept operating margin healthy at 16-20% over the five fiscals through March 2018. Post-acquisition of Arysta, better backward integration and synergy benefits will result in significant cost saving for the combined entity, leading to operating profitability of over 22% in the medium term, from around 20% in fiscal 2018.
* Adequate financial risk profile; albeit moderation expected in credit metrics in medium term: The UPL group's financial risk profile is supported by sizeable adjusted net worth of Rs 8,340 crore as on March 31, 2018, and material annual operational cash flows. With improved profitability over time, gross and net debt-to-EBITDA  ratios were steady at 2.09 and 1.26 times, respectively in fiscal 2018 (2.16 and 1.18 times in fiscal 2017). Interest coverage and net cash accrual to total debt ratios were also healthy in fiscal 2018.
The proposed acquisition of Arysta is being mainly funded through a substantial debt component of around USD 3 billion), and will result in moderation in credit metrics over the medium term. For instance, the gross annualized debt-to-EBITDA of the combined entity is expected to moderate to ~4-4.2 times in fiscal 2019 and about 3.6-3.7 times in fiscal 2020. Although the management is committed to reducing debt levels over the medium to long term, nevertheless, CRISIL believes improvement in the financial risk profile is dependent on successful implementation of the acquisition plan, and benefits from synergies through the acquired entity. Any additional large acquisitions will remain a credit monitorable.
* Large working capital requirement: The crop protection business is seasonal in nature. Sales occur at the start of the season, but payment is realised post-harvest, thus resulting in large receivables. Further, as goods are manufactured at one place and distributed to other locations, sizeable stock of finished goods need to be maintained. The long credit period required by customers in key Latin American markets also leads to a stretch in the working capital cycle. However, CRISIL believes the company will contain the exposure to markets with long credit cycle to less than one-third of its revenue, thereby mitigating impact of a stretched cycle on the overall credit profile.

* Susceptibility to risks inherent in the agrochemicals sector: The crop-protection sector remains susceptible to specific and separate registration processes in different countries, and various environmental rules and regulations. Change in regulatory requirements, such as export and import policies, and environmental and safety requirements in countries where the company has significant exposure, could weaken growth prospects. Further, the sector is also highly dependent on monsoon and level of farm income. Hence, timing and distribution of rainfall during a year, plays a crucial role.
Outlook: Negative

UPL's financial risk profile may be impacted over the medium term, due to the sizeable acquisition-related debt, and recover gradually thereafter. The UPL group's business risk profile, however, will be enhanced by the acquisition of Arysta, propelling it to the 5th largest player in the global agrochemical space and 4th largest seed manufacturer. Better scale and business synergies are expected to also help improve operating profitability to around 22% over the medium term, benefitting cash generation.

Downgrade scenario
* Sharp decline in revenue, profitability, and cash generation
* Further increase in gross debt/EBITDA levels above 3.7 times in fiscal 2020 (net debt / EBIDTA above 3.2 times) and above 3.0 times in fiscal 2021 (net debt / EBIDTA above 2.5 times), due to lower cash generation or higher debt levels, due to more than anticipated capex, additional large acquisitions and elongation in working capital cycle

Upward scenario
* Significant growth in revenues with operating margins in excess of ~22%
* Debt/EBITDA reducing to below 3.7 times in fiscal 2020 (net debt / EBIDTA  below 3.2 times) and below 3.0 times in fiscal 2021 (net debt / EBIDTA below 2.5 times), due to better than anticipated cash generation and lower debt levels due to prudent working capital or equity infusion.

Liquidity: Adequate
Cash and cash equivalents stood at Rs.2038 crore as on September 30, 2018 (Rs. 2894 crore on March 31, 2018), and are partly used to fund working capital requirements in overseas markets, when interest rates rise. Utilization of fund based limits of Rs 1350 crore has been moderate at about 58% and for past nine months ending November 2018. The liquidity position is expected to remain adequate, supported by healthy cash generation, notwithstanding higher working capital requirements. Annual capex estimated at about Rs -2000 crore is also expected to be funded largely from internal accruals. The additional debt for acquisition of Arysta of USD 3 billion (interest cost of 4.12%) is likely to be raised in the last quarter of fiscal 2019, and would have moratorium of 4 years with bullet repayment at the end of the 5th year. UPL may partly refinance this debt when it becomes due for repayment, given its good relationship with the lending community.

About the UPL group
Incorporated in 1969 and promoted by Mr Rajnikant Shroff, UPL manufactures, markets, and distributes crop protection products, intermediates, specialty chemicals, and other industrial chemicals, and undertakes research in these segments. Over time, UPL has made several acquisitions, and entered into strategic alliances to diversify its product profile and increase its geographical reach. The UPL group now includes 96 entities. Apart from UPL Ltd, the other key operating companies in the group are United Phosphorus Inc (US), United Phosphorus Ltd (UK), Cerexagri SAS, Icona SA (Argentina), Decco US Post Harvest Inc, and UPL do Brasil Industria e Comercio de SA (Brazil). The group has manufacturing units in India, France, the Netherlands, Argentina, the UK, Vietnam, Turkey, Brazil, Italy, China, USA, Australia, Thailand and Columbia.

For the six month period ended September 30, 2018, UPL reported a consolidated net profit of Rs.  788 crore (Rs. 714 crore in the corresponding period of fiscal 2018) on net sales of Rs. 8391 crore (Rs. 7493 crore).

About Arysta
Arysta is an agrochemical company with almost entire production process outsourced from third parties in various geographies, such as China, Eastern Europe, and India. Arysta owns about 800 domestic and foreign patents, and approximately 6,800 product registrations. Arysta specializes in the development, formulation, registration, marketing and distribution of differentiated crop Protection solutions, including BioSolutions and Seed treatments, for a variety of crops and applications. The company has presence in over 100 countries globally.

Key Financial Indicators
Particulars Unit 2018 2017
Revenue Rs crore 17378 16276
Adjusted profit after tax (PAT) Rs crore 2030 1725
PAT margin % 11.68 10.6
Adjusted debt/Adjusted networth Times 0.84 0.92
 Adjusted interest coverage Times 4.90 5.00

Any other information: Not applicable

Note on complexity levels of the rated instrument:
CRISIL complexity levels are assigned to various types of financial instruments. The CRISIL complexity levels are available on www.crisil.com/complexity-levels. Users are advised to refer to the CRISIL complexity levels for instruments that they consider for investment. Users may also call the Customer Service Helpdesk with queries on specific instruments.
Annexure - Details of Instrument(s)
ISIN Name of instrument Date of allotment Coupon
rate (%)
Maturity date Issue size
(Rs crore)
Rating assigned 
with outlook
N.A. Non-convertible debentures* N.A. N.A. N.A. 500 CRISIL AA+/Negative
N.A. Cash credit# N.A. N.A. N.A. 1150 CRISIL AA+/Negative
N.A. Letter of credit & bank guarantee N.A. N.A. N.A. 650 CRISIL A1+
N.A Proposed cash credit facility N.A. N.A. N.A. 200 CRISIL AA+/Negative
N.A. Proposed Letter of credit & bank guarantee N.A. N.A. N.A. 200 CRISIL A1+
N.A. Proposed long-term bank loan facility N.A. N.A. N.A. 300 CRISIL AA+/Negative
N.A. Commercial paper N.A. N.A. 7-365 days 1000 CRISIL A1+
* Yet to be issued
# Fully interchangeable between cash credit, working capital demand loan, foreign currency non-resident (Bank) loans, packing credit in INR, packing credit in foreign currency, export bill discounting in INR and foreign currency, buyer's credit for imports and domestic purchases, and domestic sales bill discounting.
Annexure - Details of Consolidation
Fully consolidated entities
1 Shroffs United Chemicals Limited
2 SWAL Corporation Limited
3 United Phosphorus (India) LLP
4 United Phosphorus Global LLP
5 Optima Farm Solutions Limited
6 UPL Europe Limited
7 UPL Deutschland GmbH
8 United Phosphorus Polska Sp.z o.o
9 UPL Benelux B.V.
10 Cerexagri B.V.
11 Blue star B.V.
12 United Phosphorus Holdings Cooperatief U.A.
13 United Phosphorus Holdings B.V
14 Decco Worldwide Post-Harvest Holdings Cooperatief U.A.
15 Decco Worldwide Post-Harvest Holdings B.V.
16 United Phosphorus Holding, Brazil B.V
17 UPL Italia S.R.L
18 UPL Iberia, S.A
19 Decco Iberica Postcosecha, S.A.U.
20 Transterra Invest, S. L. U.
21 Cerexagri S.A.S.
22 Neo-Fog S.A.
23 UPL France
24 United Phosphorus Switzerland Limited.
25 Agrodan, ApS
26 Decco Italia SRL
27 Limited Liability Company "UPL''
28 Decco Portugal Post Harvest LDA
29 United Phosphorus Inc.
30 UPI Finance LLC
31 Cerexagri, Inc. (PA)
32 UPL Delaware, Inc.
33 Decco US Post-Harvest Inc.
34 RiceCo LLC
35 Riceco International, Inc.
36 UPL Corporation Limited
37 UPL Management DMCC
38 UPL Limited, Gibraltar
39 UPL Agro SA DE CV.
40 Decco PostHarvest Mexico
41 Perrey Participacoes S.A
42 Uniphos Industria e Comercio de Produtos Quimicos Ltda.
43 UPL Do Brasil - Industria e Comercio de lnsumos  Agropecuarios  S.A.
44 UPL Costa Rica S.A.
45 UP Bolivia S.R.L
46 UPL Paraguay S.A.
47 Icona Sanluis S.A
48 DYA Technology Argentina S.A.
49 UPL Argentina S.A.
50 Decco Chile SpA
51 UPL Colombia SAS
52 United Phosphorus Cayman Limited
53 UP Aviation Limited
54 UPL Australia Limited
55 UPL New Zealand Limited
56 UPL Shanghai Limited
57 UPL Limited Korea Co.,Ltd
58 PT.UPL Indonesia
59 PT Catur Agrodaya  Mandiri
60 UPL Limited, Hong Kong
61 UPL Philippines  Inc.
62 UPL Vietnam Co. Limited
63 UPL Limited, Japan
64 UPL Ziraat Ve Kimya Sanayi Ve Ticaret Limited Sirketi
65 UPL Agromed Tohumculuk SA
66 Safepack Products Limited
67 Citrashine (Pty) Ltd
68 Prolong Limited
69 Advanta Holdings B.V.
70 Advanta Netherlands Holdings B. V.
71 Advanta US LLC (Formerly known as Advanta U.S.  Inc)
72 Advanta Seeds International
73 Advanta Seeds DMCC
74 Advanta Commercio De Sementes LTDA
75 Advanta Semillas SAIC
76 Advanta Seeds Pty Ltd
77 Pacific Seeds (Thai) Ltd
78 Pacific Seeds Holdings (Thai) Limited
79 PT Advanta Seeds Indonesia
80 Advanta Seeds Ukraine LLC
81 UPL Limited (formerly known as UPL Agro Limited)
82 Riceco International Bangladesh Limited
83 Uniphos Malaysia Sdn Bhd
84 Decco Gida Tanm ve Zirai Urunler San. Tic A.S
85 UPL Jiangsu Limited
86 Essentiv LCC
87 Canegrass LLC
88 Anning Decco Fine Chemical Co. Limited
89 Agrinet Solutions Limited
Annexure - Rating History for last 3 Years
  Current 2019 (History) 2018  2017  2016  Start of 2016
Instrument Type Outstanding Amount Rating Date Rating Date Rating Date Rating Date Rating Rating
Commercial Paper  ST  1000.00  CRISIL A1+      22-10-18  CRISIL A1+  17-10-17  CRISIL A1+  14-09-16  CRISIL A1+  CRISIL A1+ 
            24-07-18  CRISIL A1+  31-08-17  CRISIL A1+       
Non Convertible Debentures  LT  500.00
CRISIL AA+/Negative      22-10-18  CRISIL AA+/Watch Negative  17-10-17  CRISIL AA+/Stable    --  -- 
            24-07-18  CRISIL AA+/Watch Negative           
Fund-based Bank Facilities  LT/ST  1650.00  CRISIL AA+/Negative      22-10-18  CRISIL AA+/Watch Negative  17-10-17  CRISIL AA+/Stable  14-09-16  CRISIL AA+/Stable  CRISIL AA+/Stable 
            24-07-18  CRISIL AA+/Watch Negative  31-08-17  CRISIL AA+/Stable       
Non Fund-based Bank Facilities  LT/ST  850.00  CRISIL A1+      22-10-18  CRISIL A1+  17-10-17  CRISIL A1+  14-09-16  CRISIL A1+  CRISIL A1+ 
            24-07-18  CRISIL A1+  31-08-17  CRISIL A1+       
All amounts are in Rs.Cr.
Annexure - Details of various bank facilities
Current facilities Previous facilities
Facility Amount (Rs.Crore) Rating Facility Amount (Rs.Crore) Rating
Cash Credit# 1150 CRISIL AA+/Negative Cash Credit# 1150 CRISIL AA+
Letter of credit & Bank Guarantee 650 CRISIL A1+ Letter of credit & Bank Guarantee 650 CRISIL A1+
Proposed Cash Credit Limit 200 CRISIL AA+/Negative Proposed Cash Credit Limit 200 CRISIL AA+
Proposed Letter of Credit & Bank Guarantee 200 CRISIL A1+ Proposed Long Term Bank Loan Facility 500 CRISIL AA+
Proposed Long Term Bank Loan Facility 300 CRISIL AA+/Negative -- 0 --
Total 2500 -- Total 2500 --
# Fully interchangeable between cash credit, working capital demand loan, foreign currency non-resident (Bank) loans, packing credit in INR, packing credit in foreign currency, export bill discounting in INR and foreign currency, buyer's credit for imports and domestic purchases, and domestic sales bill discounting.
Links to related criteria
CRISILs Approach to Financial Ratios
CRISILs Bank Loan Ratings - process, scale and default recognition
Rating criteria for manufaturing and service sector companies
Rating Criteria for Chemical Industry
CRISILs Criteria for Consolidation
CRISILs Criteria for rating short term debt

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