GT Capital Holdings, Inc. has been given the highest credit rating for its total outstanding P15.1-billion bonds by a local debt watcher.

In a disclosure to the exchange on Thursday, the Ty-led conglomerate said it was able to maintain its PRS Aaa credit rating for its outstanding bonds as assessed by Philippine Ratings Services Corp. (PhilRatings).

A PRS Aaa rating means the bonds are of highest quality with minimal credit risk. PhilRatings said it means GT Capital has an “extremely strong” capacity to meet its financial commitment on the obligation.

The credit rating was also given a stable outlook, which means it is likely to stay the same for the next 12 months.

“The assigned issue ratings take into account GT Capital’s investments portfolio which is composed of companies with solid market positions, the strong strategic direction provided by its shareholders combined with the solid experience of its management, and sound capitalization structure,” PhilRatings said.

“These core credit strengths are seen to counterbalance increased risks due to the ongoing community quarantine and COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019) pandemic, and serve as a strong base for recovery as the impact of these developments gradually wanes over time,” it added.

GT Capital is composed of various businesses such as Metropolitan Bank and Trust Co. (Metrobank); Toyota Motor Philippines, Philippine AXA Life Insurance Corp.; and a 15.55% stake in Metro Pacific Investments Corp.

The conglomerate’s profits dropped 26% to P2.5 billion in the first quarter due to the pandemic. But PhilRatings said these businesses are either the dominant or one of the strongest players in their respective industries, making GT Capital positioned to rise above the challenges.

“GT Capital’s owners and management have outlined strategies specific to each component company of the group, taking into account the quarantine and contagion’s overall economic and industry impact, and the group’s short-term plans to limit the immediate negative effects of these developments, as well as medium- to long-term strategies for recovery moving forward,” the debt watcher said.

PhilRatings noted it would continue monitoring developments that might affect GT Capital’s businesses, and may change the credit rating at any time if found necessary.

Shares in GT Capital at the stock exchange fell P2 or 0.44% to close at P448 apiece on Thursday. — Denise A. Valdez