MARC has affirmed its AAAIS rating on Projek Lebuhraya Usahasama’s (PLUS) RM23.35bn Sukuk Musharakah programme with a stable outlook. PLUS is the toll concessionaire of five major highways in Malaysia, of which the 772-km North-South Expressway is its key highway in terms of revenue generation.
The rating affirmation continues to incorporate a two-notch rating uplift from PLUS’ standalone rating of AA on the basis of support assumption from the Malaysian government with respect to the Sukuk.
Among the key factors supporting this assumption are the interdependence between default events for the rated Sukuk and the RM11bn government-guaranteed Sukuk maturing after the rated programme. In addition, MARC considers the government’s golden share and indirect major shareholding in PLUS as well as the critical role of the NSE in the country’s transportation system as factors underpinning the rating uplift. PLUS is jointly owned by UEM Group, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Khazanah Nasional and the Employees Provident Fund Board.