Fitch Affirms Masisa S.A.'s Ratings

  Fitch Affirms Masisa S.A.'s Ratings  Business Wire  CHICAGO -- June 26, 2014  Fitch Ratings has affirmed the ratings of Masisa S.A. (Masisa) as follows:  --Foreign and local currency Issuer Default Ratings (IDRs) at 'BB';  --USD300 million senior unsecured 9.5% notes due 2019. The notes are unconditionally guaranteed by Forestal Tornagaleones and Masisa Forestal;  --National scale rating of Bond Line No. 356, No. 439, No. 440, No. 560, No. 724 and No. 725 at 'A-(cl)';  --Long term National Scale rating at 'A- (cl)';  --Equity rating at 'Primera Clase Nivel 3(cl)'.  --National short term rating at 'N1(cl)'.  The Rating Outlook is Stable.  KEY RATING DRIVERS  HIGH EXPOSURE TO ARGENTINA AND VENEZUELA's ECONOMIES  Masisa's ratings are constrained by the company's large exposure to Venezuela and Argentina. Combined these markets represented 53% of Masisa's consolidated EBITDA as of the last 12 months (LTM) to March 31, 2014. Challenges in these markets include non-stable currencies, political interference, as well as foreign currency transfer restrictions. Masisa's net debt-to-EBITDA ratio of 3.6x as of March 31, 2014 is above the 3.4x the company averaged during the past five years. Net leverage excluding operations in Venezuela and Argentina was 7.4x.  SOUND BUSINESS POSITION  The ratings of Masisa incorporate its sound business position within Latin America as a leading producer of wood boards with 3.4 million cubic meters of installed capacity. The company's operations are concentrated in Chile, Brazil, Argentina, Venezuela, and Mexico. Masisa has Placentro retail stores throughout the region and commercial offices in Peru, Colombia and Ecuador, and exports to countries outside the region such as North America. An additional credit consideration is the company's continued use of equity to partially fund growth. Increases of equity have occurred in 2003, 2005, 2009 and 2013.  FORESTRY ASSETS ARE IMPORTANT CREDIT CONSIDERATION  The ratings further incorporate Masisa's ownership of 193,000 hectares of plantations in South America, which along with its forestry land, had a book value of USD608 million as of June 2014. This value is on a pro forma basis, after the sale of 32,500 hectares of plantations in Chile to an 80/20 joint venture between Hancock Natural Resource Group (Hancock) and Masisa. Masisa received USD205 million during April 2014 and partially used to prepay debt. This sale reduced the company's net debt as of March 31 2014 to USD562 million, from USD767 million. As a result, net leverage ratios should decrease to 2.6x and 5.5x (excluding EBITDA generated by Venezuela and Argentina).  Through this transaction, Masisa transferred the forestry assets in question to a joint venture company based in Chile, with Hancock owning 80% of the shares and Masisa owning the remaining 20%. Masisa and Hancock entered into a long-term fiber supply agreement which gives Masisa the option to purchase wood fiber. During 2013 Masisa sourced 3% of its Chilean industrial fiber needs from these forests.  EBITDA GENERATION RESILIENT DESPITE DEVALUATION IN VENEZUELA  Masisa generated EBITDA of USD36.8 million during the first quarter of 2014 (1Q'14), down from USD51.5 million during 1Q'13 (applying the exchange rate of 11.3 Bol/USD for 1Q'13 and 1Q'14). EBITDA in Venezuela sharply decreased as a result of 14% lower volume and a weakening of the product mix toward less value-added products, as a result of restrictions on the import of melamine. The fundamentals of Masisa's Chilean operations remain favorable, despite the absence of the USD5 million sale of forestry assets in 1Q'14 compared to 1Q'13. Competitive pressures continue, and a port strike in Chile during January caused a 15% volume decline. EBITDA in this market decreased 32% overall quarter-on-quarter. Brazil also faces competitive pressures due to additional capacity coming in, which has affected prices in the MDF segment, but volumes have increased. Mexico has shown sound performance as a result of the addition of the Rexcel assets, while Argentina remains vulnerable, but with a stable performance.  Fitch's Base Case indicates Masisa's EBITDA in the range of USD220 million for 2014, similar to 2012. This corresponds to expected total debt-to-EBITDA of around 3.8x and net debt-to-EBITDA of around 3.0x for the year. Masisa generated EBITDA of USD241 million during 2013, an increase from USD224 million during 2012 mainly driven by favorable performance in Brazil and Mexico. The company's performance in Argentina has remained vulnerable, while its EBITDA in Venezuela increased to USD76 million from USD70 million during 2012, despite the company's decision to present its 2013 financial statements with the 160% devaluation of the bolivar against the dollar during January 2014.  Masisa's Brazilian operations benefited from lower energy costs, which offset a 2.7% volume decrease due to a fire at the Montenegro MDP plant during September 2012. Its Chilean operations benefited from a turnaround in the U.S. housing market, which increased demand for MDF moldings by 76%. During the LTM to March 31, 2014, Masisa generated USD215 million of EBITDA.  LARGE CAPEX PROGRAM SIGNIFICANTLY PREFUNDED  Masisa plans to invest approximately USD600 million to expand its operations commencing 2013 through 2015. Key investments include the acquisition of Rexcel and Arclin's assets (concluded); increased coating capacity in Chile and Brazil (concluded); and constructing a new MDF plant in Mexico with annual capacity of 220,000 cubic meters. This mill includes a 100,000 cubic meter melamine facility. Financing for these investments includes the USD100 million capital increase (of which USD80 million has been placed), USD300 million of cash flow from operations over the period (ex-Venezuela and Argentina), and USD205 million of proceeds from the divestiture of non-strategic forestry assets (concluded). Masisa has significantly prefunded its capex requirements for the next few years and exhibits a sound liquidity profile in Fitch's base case over the course of the large investment period. Fitch expects that during the high capex period, Masisa will exhibit negative free cash flow (FCF) from operations, returning to positive FCF by 2018 when the investments are mostly concluded.  EXTENDED DEBT MATURITIES  Masisa exhibits sound liquidity and low refinancing risk. The company refinanced USD226 million of short-term debt as of March 31, 2014 with USD300 million in 9.5% senior unsecured notes due 2019 issued in May 2014. The sale of non-strategic forestry assets has further bolstered the company's liquidity by USD205 million. Masisa has a comfortable debt amortization profile with USD12 million in maturities during 2014, USD22 million during 2015, USD34 million during 2016, USD57 million during 2017, USD14 million during 2018 and USD594 million thereafter. Masisa is expected to proactively refinance impending maturities well in advance.  RATING SENSITIVITIES  Negative rating actions could occur if there is a sustained increase in net debt-to EBITDA above 4,0x, operating cash flow fundamentally weakens, or the political environment in Argentina or Venezuela deteriorates further.  Absent significant debt reduction, positive rating actions are not likely in the short term due to Masisa's reliance upon Venezuela and Argentina which together comprise around 50% of its EBITDA.  Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'.  Applicable Criteria and Related Research:  --'Corporate Rating Methodology' August 2014).  Additional Disclosure  Solicitation Status  http://www.fitchratings.com/gws/en/disclosure/solicitation?pr_id=836802  ALL FITCH CREDIT RATINGS ARE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS. PLEASE READ THESE LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS BY FOLLOWING THIS LINK: HTTP://FITCHRATINGS.COM/UNDERSTANDINGCREDITRATINGS. IN ADDITION, RATING DEFINITIONS AND THE TERMS OF USE OF SUCH RATINGS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE AGENCY'S PUBLIC WEBSITE 'WWW.FITCHRATINGS.COM'. PUBLISHED RATINGS, CRITERIA AND METHODOLOGIES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THIS SITE AT ALL TIMES. FITCH'S CODE OF CONDUCT, CONFIDENTIALITY, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, AFFILIATE FIREWALL, COMPLIANCE AND OTHER RELEVANT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FROM THE 'CODE OF CONDUCT' SECTION OF THIS SITE. FITCH MAY HAVE PROVIDED ANOTHER PERMISSIBLE SERVICE TO THE RATED ENTITY OR ITS RELATED THIRD PARTIES. DETAILS OF THIS SERVICE FOR RATINGS FOR WHICH THE LEAD ANALYST IS BASED IN AN EU-REGISTERED ENTITY CAN BE FOUND ON THE ENTITY SUMMARY PAGE FOR THIS ISSUER ON THE FITCH WEBSITE.  Contact:  Fitch Ratings Primary Analyst Jay Djemal Director +1 312-368-3134 Fitch Ratings, Inc. 70 West Madison Street Chicago, IL 60602 or Secondary Analyst Monica Coeymans Director +56-2-2499-3314 or Committee Chairperson Sergio Rodriguez Senior Director +52-81-8399-9100 or Media Relations, New York Elizabeth Fogerty, +1 212-908-0526 elizabeth.fogerty@fitchratings.com  
Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.