SEOUL, April 8 (Yonhap) — Fitch Ratings has raised the rating outlooks on Hyundai Motor Co. and Kia Corp. to stable from negative due to improved product mix and profitability, the ratings firm said Thursday.
The revision reflects the companies’ “resilient” 2020 performance and their improved profitability, as shown in recent quarters, helped by a better product mix and rebound in global auto demand after a yearlong COVID-19 pandemic, Fitch said in a statement.
The ratings firm said the carmakers’ “large liquidity buffers” will help them manage potential challenges that could affect near-term performance, such as an uncertain macroeconomic outlook, global microchip shortages and quality-related expenses, the statement said.
“We expect them to show robust revenue and profit growth amid the global demand recovery, although the ongoing global microchip shortage could constrain near-term revenue and profitability growth,” it said.
Fitch expected global vehicle sales to rebound by about 15 percent in 2021, following a decline of 14 percent last year that created significant pent-up demand.
It holds BBB+ ratings for Hyundai and Kia, which together form the world’s fifth-biggest carmaker by sales.