Fimalac


Type of ratings: Corporate

Rating value: EF1+

Outlook:  –

License: EthiFinance Ratings

Solicited

ACTION DE NOTATION 

  • EthiFinance Ratings attribue la note court-terme de EF1+ (la plus haute sur notre échelle court-terme) au programme de NEU CP de 700 M€ de Fimalac SE.

DESCRIPTION DE L’EMETTEUR

Fimalac est une société d’investissement diversifié et de long terme opérant principalement dans trois secteurs d’activité : le secteur Digital (groupe Webedia), les hôtels et casinos (groupe Lucien Barrière), et le spectacle vivant (secteur Entertainment). Le groupe possède également des actifs immobiliers (immobilier de bureaux et commercial), un large portefeuille d’actifs financiers, et une participation stratégique notable au sein de FL Entertainment (Banijay-Endemol, Betclic). Fimalac est détenu intégralement par Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière et sa famille depuis l’OPAS de juin 2017 et le retrait obligatoire de la cote survenu en juillet 2017. L’actif net réévalué de Fimalac était estimé à environ 4.7 Md€ au 31 décembre 2021 (en progression de 7%), dont 1.9 Md€ de trésorerie nette d’après le calcul d’EthiFinance Ratings. Notre analyse repose sur une approche « holding d’investissement » centrée sur les holdings du groupe et considérant les participations comme des investissements.

FONDAMENTAUX

PROFIL D’ACTIVITE

POLITIQUE D’INVESTISSEMENT

  • Une politique d’investissement jugée prudente et avec un bon track record

De manière générale, la politique d’investissements de Fimalac est jugée prudente, avec quelques opérations opportunistes, et se partage entre des activités au profil défensif (immobilier et placements financiers dont des dépôts à terme) et des activités par nature plus risquées, cycliques mais à fort potentiel de développement telles que le Digital et l’Entertainment. Le track record demeure toujours principalement marqué par le succès de son investissement dans Fitch Ratings, dont la société a cédé sa participation résiduelle en 2018 pour 2.3 Md€.

PORTEFEUILLE D’ACTIFS

  • Des investissements répartis sur plusieurs industries mais avec une prépondérance du digital

En l’absence d’investissements significatifs réalisés sur 2021 (après deux années plutôt conséquentes), le secteur Digital demeure toujours le principal actif hors trésorerie (environ 60% de la valeur réévaluée des actifs hors trésorerie) depuis la cession de Fitch Ratings et constitue toujours un axe stratégique majeur du groupe, comme en témoigne l’annonce début 2022 de la recherche de nouveaux partenaires capitalistiques pour croître à l’international. 

  • Un portefeuille relativement bien réparti géographiquement 

La diversification géographique est portée par le secteur Digital et les actifs immobiliers, dont les activités sont équilibrées entre l’Europe et les Etats-Unis. Une partie significative de la trésorerie de Fimalac demeure également toujours placée en dollars afin de diversifier le risque monétaire.   

  • Une qualité de credit des actifs moyenne malgré les impacts de la pandémie

Après plusieurs années de structuration, le secteur Digital a connu une année 2021 en forte hausse, et affiche désormais une volonté d’accélérer sa croissance à l’international. Les secteurs Hôtellerie et Entertainment ont en revanche souffert du covid en 2020 et sur 2021, même si la situation a commencé à se normaliser sur 2022. Les actifs immobiliers restent à notre avis attractifs par leurs emplacements « premium », même si le développement du télétravail pourrait avoir un impact dans les années qui viennent. Dans l’ensemble, la qualité de crédit des actifs de Fimalac demeure moyenne.

  • Une liquidité des actifs toujours portée par la trésorerie et les autres actifs financiers cotés

Le secteur Digital demeure un actif non coté. Par ailleurs, il entre, à travers Webedia, dans une nouvelle phase de développement innovante, Fimalac étant à la recherche de partenaires pour croitre à l’international. Une sortie de l’actionnariat du groupe Barrière ne pourrait se faire, d’après nous, que par un rachat des parts par la famille Barrière ou une sortie conjointe.  A notre avis, les actifs les plus liquides de Fimalac sont donc la trésorerie et les autres actifs financiers cotés.

PROFIL DE RISQUE FINANCIER

POLITIQUE FINANCIERE

  • Une politique financière prudente

En outre, Fimalac présente une politique financière prudente, qui se matérialise à travers le maintien d’un ratio de loan-to-value négatif depuis 2016, et qui le restera sur notre période de projections de 3 ans grâce à la trésorerie très conséquente liée à la cession de Fitch, complétée par la rentabilité offerte par les placements de trésorerie et des autres actifs financiers.

RATIOS DE LEVIER ET DE COUVERTURE DES INTERETS

  • Des ratios de credit excellents et une trésorerie nette positive

Le profil financier solide de Fimalac contribue de manière prépondérante à sa notation élevée. La trésorerie est toujours largement supérieure à la dette. Le ratio de couverture des intérêts est également très bon.

L’endettement total des holdings s’élevait à 0.9 Md€ au 31 décembre 2021. Il était constitué des instruments NEU CP pour 228 M€, dans le cadre du programme actuel de 700 M€. En outre, Fimalac a levé en 2018 une dette bancaire de 300 M€ à échéance 2025, dont 100 M€ ont été remboursés sur 2020, et a procédé à la levée d’une nouvelle dette bancaire de 300 M€ fin 2019, à échéance 2024. A fin décembre 2021, Fimalac avait également 131M€ d’autres dettes, dont une partie significative est à court terme. 

La trésorerie des holdings, y compris les actifs financiers, s’élevait à 2.6 Mds€ au 31 décembre 2021 et comprenait principalement des placements monétaires, dont les plus importants concernent la trésorerie issue de la cession des 20% de Fitch Ratings, ainsi que des actions et obligations cotées. Fimalac a également une avance en compte courant octroyée à Groupe Marc de Lacharrière (GML).

La trésorerie nette ajustée ressortait donc à 1.9 Md€ au 31 décembre 2021, après prise en compte des engagements de retraite des holdings ainsi que des compléments de prix et d’achats de titres dont nous avons estimé qu’ils seraient supportés par Fimalac pour le compte de ses participations.

 

PROFIL DE LIQUIDITE

  • Liquidité exceptionnelle du fait d’une trésorerie conséquente. 

La position de liquidité est toujours très élevée grâce à une trésorerie toujours importante, même si en diminution sur les dernières années du fait des investissements réalisés. La trésorerie et les actifs financiers les plus liquides couvrent toujours très largement les échéances à court terme (près de 5 fois) tandis que la trésorerie élargie, incluant les avances à GML et certains placements financiers jugés moins liquides, couvre également largement l’ensemble de la dette (un peu plus de 3 fois).

 

Dans le cadre de certains emprunts bancaires, Fimalac est soumis au respect de covenants financiers calculés sur la base des comptes consolidés. Ils étaient respectés au 31 décembre 2021 avec une marge de manœuvre élevée.

 

 

PERSPECTIVES D’EVOLUTION DES RATIOS DE CREDIT (CMEE)

  • CMEE Stable

Après deux années marquées essentiellement par le covid, qui a pesé lourdement sur certaines activités du groupe (Entertainment, Hôtellerie…), les activités du groupe se normalisent, voire sont en croissance, en dépit d’un contexte inflationniste qui pourrait continuer de peser sur le rendement de certains investissements. Dans la mesure où nous n’anticipons pas d’opérations significatives ou structurantes à court-terme pour le groupe, nous estimons que les ratios financiers devraient donc rester relativement stables sur les 12 prochains mois.

 

SENSIBILITE DE LA NOTATION

 

  • Liste des notations:
    • Notation NEU CP: EF1+

 

  • Facteurs susceptibles d’influencer positivement la note (↑)

Fimalac est notée EF1+, la plus haute note sur notre échelle court terme, du fait de l’exceptionnelle liquidité dont la société bénéficie toujours, ce qui se traduit par une couverture des échéances CT exceptionnellement élevée, ainsi que par un loan-to-value fortement négatif et qui devrait le rester dans les trois prochaines années d’après nos projections.

  • Facteurs susceptibles d’influencer négativement la note (↓)

Nous pourrions cependant envisager une dégradation en cas d’utilisation importante de la trésorerie pour investir, ce qui dégraderait le profil de liquidité et donc par conséquent le taux de couverture de la dette par la trésorerie.


INFORMATIONS REGLEMENTAIRES

02/12/2022

LEI: 969500AK4C6OUNB8HF56

Rapport d’initiation: Oui

Initiation de la notation: le 02 décembre 2022 à EF1+ pour le programme de NEU CP.

Dernière action de notation: N/A

Nature de la notation: Notation sollicitée, publique, d’un programme de NEU CP existant

Avec la participation de l’entitée notée ou d’une tierce partie liée: Oui, le rapport a été revu par l’émetteur avant publication.

Avec accès à des documents internes : Oui

Avec accès au management: Oui

Autres services fournis à l’entité: Non

Nom du président du comité de notation: Marc Pierron, Senior Director

Sources d’information significatives utilisées dans le processus de notation:

-              Etats financiers consolidés de Fimalac 2019, 2020, 2021 

-              Etats financiers statutaires de Fimalac et Fimalac Développement 2019, 2020, 2021

-              Rapport de valorisation Associés en Finance 2019, 2020, 2021

-             Entretien avec la direction financière de la société

 

Limites:

-              EthiFinance Ratings considère que la qualité et la quantité des informations disponibles sur l’émetteur sont suffisantes pour réaliser une notation

-              EthiFinance Ratings n’a pas l’obligation d’auditer ou de vérifier l’exactitude des éléments fournis

Méthodologies principales utilisées:

https://files.qivalio.net/documents/compliance/Corporate%20Rating%20Methodology%20-%20Investment%20Holding_Qivalio%20-%2020221107.pdf

https://files.qivalio.net/documents/compliance/Corporate%20Rating%20Methodology%20-%20Short-Term%20-%2020221107.pdf

 

EthiFinance Ratings SL 

Calle Velázquez nº18 

28001 - Madrid 


The following is a translation of the French version of the report published on December 02, 2022, which remains the definitive version. It is not an update of the rating published on December 02, 2022 and it does not contain any additional figures/rationale not included in the French version.

 

RATING ACTION AND RATIONALE

  • EthiFinance Ratings has assigned a short-term rating of EF1+ (the highest on our short-term rating scale) for Fimalac SE’s existing NEU CP programme of up to EUR700m.

ISSUER DESCRIPTION

Fimalac is a long-term, diversified investment company which operates mainly in three sectors: digital (the Webedia group), hotels and casinos (the Lucien Barrière group), and the live show sector (the Entertainment division).  The group also owns property assets (offices and commercial real estate), a large portfolio of financial assets, and a strategic stake in FL Entertainment (Banijay-Endemol, Betclic). Fimalac has been owned 100% by Marc Ladreit de Lacharrière and his family since the simplified public offering in June 2017 and the mandatory delisting which followed in July 2017. Fimalac’s net assets were assessed at EUR4.7bn as of end-2021 (equivalent to a 7% increase from end-2020), including EUR1.9bn of net cash as per EthiFinance Ratings’ calculation. Our analysis is based on an ‘investment holding’ methodology, focused on the ultimate parent company and financial subsidiaries, and considering operating companies as investments.

FUNDAMENTALS

BUSINESS PROFILE

INVESTMENT POLICY

  • Prudent Investment Policy with a good track record

Overall, we assess Fimalac’s investment policy as prudent, based on some opportunistic investments, and balanced between defensive assets (real estate and financial assets including term deposits) and assets whose profile is by nature riskier and more cyclical but for which there is good potential for growth, such as the Digital and Entertainment divisions. The company’s strong track record mainly results from the success of its investment in Fitch Ratings, the last part of which was divested in 2018 for EUR2.3bn.

PORTFOLIO OF INVESTMENTS

  • Investments split between several industries but the digital industry remains predominant

Since there were no significant investments made in 2021 (unlike in 2019 and 2020), the Digital division remains the main asset excluding cash (c.60% of the net adjusted value of assets excluding cash) since the divestiture of the stake in Fitch Ratings, and a strategic pillar of the group, as evidenced by the announcement in early 2022 that the group is looking for new equity partners to grow internationally. 

  • Geographically well diversified portfolio

The portfolio’s geographic diversification is mainly supported by the Digital division’s operations and by real estate assets, which are evenly split between Europe and the US. A significant portion of Fimalac’s cash is still in US dollars in order to mitigate the foreign exchange risk.  


  • Average credit quality of the assets within the portfolio, despite the impacts of the pandemic

After several years of structuring of the group, the Digital division reported significantly better figures for 2021, and now wishes to accelerate its international growth. Meanwhile, the Hotel and Entertainment division suffered from Covid restrictions in 2020 and 2021, although the situation has started to normalize in 2022. The ‘premium’ location of Fimalac’s real estate assets still brings some attractiveness in our opinion, although the rise of teleworking could weigh negatively in the years ahead. Overall, the quality of Fimalac’s assets remains average.

  • The liquidity of the assets within the portefolio remains driven by cash and other listed financial assets

The Digital division remains an unlisted asset. Moreover, it is entering a new phase of development through Webedia. Fimalac is indeed looking for partners to grow internationally. We believe a divestiture of Groupe Barrière could happen in the event of a joint exit or if the Desseigne-Barrière family was willing to purchase Fimalac’s shares. Listed financial assets and cash are, in our view, the most liquid assets of the group.

FINANCIAL RISK PROFILE

FINANCIAL POLICY

  • A prudent financial policy

Fimalac has a prudent financial policy characterized by a negative loan-to-value ratio since 2016, a position we expect to continue over our three-year forecast horizon, thanks to the significant cash resulting from the divestiture of the Fitch Ratings stake combined with the profitability that derives from the cash invested and from the group’s financial assets.

LEVERAGE & COVERAGE

  • Excellent credit metrics with a net cash position

Fimalac’s solid financial profile is the main factor behind its high rating. Cash is still significantly higher than debt.  The holding also features an exceptional coverage of short-term debt.

The holdings’ total debt amounted to EUR0.9bn as of end-2021. It mainly comprised NEU CP instruments for EUR228m, out of a EUR700m program. In addition, Fimalac subscribed in 2018 to a EUR300m bank facility with maturity in 2025, of which EUR100m was redeemed in 2020, and raised another EUR300m of bank debt at the end of 2019, with maturity in 2024. At end-2021, Fimalac also had EUR131m of other debt, a significant portion of which is short term. 

The holdings’ cash, including financial assets, amounted to EUR2.6bn at end-2021, mainly comprising money market funds, most of which resulted from cash received following the divestiture of the 20% stake in Fitch Ratings, as well as listed shares and bonds. Fimalac also has a current account with Groupe Marc de Lacharrière (GML).

The net cash position - restated for group pension liabilities, additional prices on acquisitions and share purchase commitments, which we assumed would be supported by Fimalac on behalf of its subsidiaries - amounted to EUR1.9bn as of end-2021.

LIQUIDITY PROFILE

  • Excellent liquidity on the back of a large cash position 

Fimalac’s liquidity is still very good thanks to a significant cash position, despite this having been reduced over the past few years on the back of investments made. Cash, combined with the most liquid portion of financial assets, still amply cover the short-term maturities (by around 5x), whereas cash combined with the GML current account and some less liquid financial assets also exceed the total amount of debt (by around 3x).

With respect to some of its bank loans, Fimalac has to comply with financial covenants, the calculations of which are based on consolidated financial statements. They were complied with significant headroom at end-2021.

CREDIT METRICS EXPECTED EVOLUTION (CMEE)

  • Stable CMEE

After two years mainly characterized by Covid, which significantly weighed on some divisions of the group (Hotels, Entertainment), the group’s operations have been normalizing, even growing, despite the inflationary context which could weigh on the return of some financial investments. Credit metrics should therefore remain Stable over the next twelve months as we expect no significant investments or changes within the group over the short term. 

 

 

RATING SENSITIVITY

 

  • List of ratings:
    • NEU CP rating: EF1+

 

  • Short-term rating positive factor

Fimalac is rated EF1+, the highest grade on our short-term rating scale, thanks to exceptional liquidity, which is characterized by an exceptional coverage of short-term debt as well as by a significantly negative LTV ratio, a position which we expect to remain in place over the next three years according to our forecasts. 

  • Short-term rating negative factor

We may downgrade our short-term rating should Fimalac use a significant part of its cash for investments, resulting in a deterioration of the liquidity profile and consequently of the debt coverage ratio as well. 


REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

02/12/2022

LEI: 969500AK4C6OUNB8HF56

Initiation report: Yes

Rating initiation: 02 December 2022 at EF1+ for the NEU CP programme.

Last rating action: N/A

Rating nature: Solicited, public, short-term corporate rating and NEU CP instrument rating

With rated entity or related third-party participation: Yes, the rating report was issued after having been reviewed by the issuer.

With access to internal documents: Yes

With access to management: Yes

Ancillary services provided to the entity: No

Name of the rating committee chair: Marc Pierron, Senior Director

Material sources used to support the rating decision:

-           Fimalac's consolidated financial statements 2019, 2020, 2021 

-              Statutory financial statements for Fimalac and Fimalac Développement 2019, 2020, 2021

-              Valuation report from Associés en Finance 2019, 2020, 2021

-             Call with management   

 

Limitation of the rating action:

-              EthiFinance Ratings believes that the quality and quantity of information available on the rated entity is sufficient to provide a rating

-              EthiFinance Ratings has no obligation to audit the data provided

Our methodologies used for these ratings:

https://files.qivalio.net/documents/compliance/Corporate%20Rating%20Methodology%20-%20Investment%20Holding_Qivalio%20-%2020221107.pdf

https://files.qivalio.net/documents/compliance/Corporate%20Rating%20Methodology%20-%20Short-Term%20-%2020221107.pdf

 

EthiFinance Ratings SL 

Calle Velázquez nº18 

28001 - Madrid 


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Rating action:  New

Action date: 2022-12-02

Date last rating: 2022-12-02

Date first rating: 2022-12-02

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