Expert RA Raises Softline's Credit Rating to ruBBB+
09/10/2020

Expert RA, a rating agency, has upgraded Axion Holding (Softline Group) credit rating to ruBBB+ with a stable outlook.

Online PR News – 10-September-2020 – MOSCOW, Russia - September 01, 2020 - – The rating has improved due to the following key factors:
- fast growth of the Group's operational indicators;
- sustainable expansion of the IT services market in the countries where the Group operates;
- the synergy effect of mergers and acquisitions and the start of steady operation of newly acquired companies within the Group’s perimeter.

Improved operational indicators had a good effect on Softline’s profitability in FY 2019. During FY 2018 the Group introduced numerous structural changes aimed at optimizing costs at recently acquired companies and increasing brand awareness in new markets. The outcomes of FY 2019 testify to the beneficial effect of the group's business transformation that had improved its financial performance, particularly due to economies of scale. Expert RA also commended the policy of achieving and maintaining a strong liquidity position that had been pursued by the Group during the monitoring period.

The Group’s continuing status of a key software vendor in the markets where it operates has a positive impact on the assessment of business risks. The global need to accelerate digital transformation and set up remote workplaces led to a surge in demand for products and services from Softline; preliminary data show that the Group's turnover in Q2 2020 in dollar terms increased by 16% (QoQ), while the operating profit more than doubled. The current demand for remote work also helps Softline sell more cloud services, the most revenue-generating area of its business that is projected to grow worldwide by over 13% in 2020, according to Gartner. The agency also noted that the reduction in income tax and social contributions granted by the government to Softline as an IT company would be conducive to its profitable operation in a volatile global economy.

2018 was a period of operational consolidation for Axion Holding companies: substantial funds were allocated to integrate new entities such as Insight Enterprises Inc., Infosecurity, and others. These acquisitions have strengthened Softline's positions in cybersecurity, IT distribution, and software development in Russia and abroad, as well as increased its EBITDA by an estimated 39% according to Expert RA. The all-time high OCF and FCF made it possible to repay more of the corporate debt and build up a healthy liquidity cushion.

According to Expert RA, the Group has sufficient liquidity resources (forecasted operating cash flows, accumulated cash, and unused credit lines) to cover 110% of its debt payments, capital expenditures and the cost of foreign acquisitions for 18 months from the credit report date. The Group also holds a stake in Crayon, a Norwegian public IT company specializing in cloud technology and digital business transformation. The market value of equity in the company more than doubled last year to about $34 million as of the report date (March 31, 2020) and continued to grow through April–August 2020.

According to IFRS-compliant consolidated financial statements that include foreign operations, Softline’s revenue in the 2019 financial year amounted to $1,362 million, and the net profit was $9.5 million. As of March 31, 2020, the Group's assets totaled $394.8 million, and its capital amounted to $56.7 million.

"The upgrade of Softline’s credit rating by the Expert RA agency confirms that the company follows a sound strategy and has a strong leadership. Despite the slowdown in the global economy, the demand for our products and services keeps growing. This gives us every reason to believe that in the mid-term, Softline will attract more investment, enjoy reduced borrowing costs and stay on the cutting edge of the competition by offering new opportunities to our customers and partners and improving working conditions for our employees," comments Sergei Chernovolenko, Global CEO of Softline.

About us:

Softline is a leading global Information Technology solutions and services provider focused on emerging markets of Eastern Europe, Americas, and Asia. We help our customer achieve digital transformation and protect their business with cybersecurity technologies. Our services include end-to-end technology solutions, public and private clouds, software and hardware provisioning and broad array of associated services.

Softline’s 2019 turnover exceeded $1.54 Billion US dollars with sales growth 13.2% in the Group of Companies. Softline has offices in 50 countries and 95 cities worldwide. With more than 25 years of distinguished history we have managed to grow rapidly while consolidating technology expertise and a business model encompassing all emerging markets.

We serve over 60 000 Enterprise and SMB clients, both from private and public sectors. Over 1500 account managers, 1000 solution sales and technical presale professionals and 1000 engineers and technical specialists help our customers navigate through the ever-changing complex IT environment. We build long-term relationships with our clients, partners and employees.

Softline has partnerships with more than 3000 software and hardware manufacturers and has highest partner status with all our key partners. We provide a unique marketing and sales channel for our partners in all the markets where we operate. Softline is always customer centric and provides brand independent solutions which best serve customer’s needs.

For more information, please visit http://www.softline.com

Contacts:

Valeriya Aver
Head of International Public Relations Department in Softline
Valeriya.Aver@softline.com