Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search

 


Chorus BBB debt rating affirmed by S&P, taken off watch

Chorus BBB debt rating affirmed by S&P, outlook negative on reduced headroom

By Jonathan Underhill

May. 23 (BusinessDesk) - Chorus's BBB credit rating was affirmed by Standard & Poor's with a negative outlook that reflects prospects for the network company's 'headroom' within financial covenants to shrink as it ramps up spending on the Ultra-Fast Broadband network and regulated prices fall.

The Wellington-based company was placed on creditwatch with negative implications in February, effectively giving it three months to convince S&P not to downgrade its credit rating.

"The rating affirmation reflects our view that Chorus has sufficient flexibility under a range of proposed revenue, cost, and capital management initiatives to temper the impact of reduced network pricing from December 2014 and maintain a financial risk profile consistent with the 'BBB' rating," credit analyst Paul Draffin said in a statement. "The negative outlook reflects the potential for the group’s headroom within bank facility financial covenants to materially diminish over the next few years."

Last year the Commerce Commission proposed cutting the network operator’s pricing on its copper line services, which Chorus said left a $1 billion hole in the funding for the roll out of the government-sponsored UFB.

In March, Crown Fibre Holdings gave Chorus greater flexibility in building the network provided it meets the agreed deadline, and has aligned funding with completed work.

Chorus is working through plans to cut costs and dividend cuts, raise capital, and renegotiate terms of its UFB contract, and has challenged the regulator in the Court of Appeal.

In January, Moody’s Investors Service’s downgraded Chorus to Baa3 from Baa2, the lowest possible investment grade rating.

Draffin said the Commerce Commission's review of its pricing methodology, with an outcome expected in April 2015, may result in more modest price cuts being imposed on Chorus but the ratings company's base case assumes no change and "significant uncertainty remains regarding the outcomes of this process."

"The negative outlook reflects our view that the rating could be lowered in the next six to 12 months due to the potential reduction in forecast covenant headroom during the peak of the UFB construction process; or if management’s strategies to support its financial risk profile are insufficient to maintain debt to Ebitda below 4" times.

Chorus shares fell 0.6 percent to $1.70 and have gained 19 percent this year.

(BusinessDesk)

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Royal Society: Review Finds Community Water Fluoridation Safe And Effective

A review of the scientific evidence for and against the efficacy and safety of fluoridation of public water supplies has found that the levels of fluoridation used in New Zealand create no health risks and provide protection against tooth decay. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Croxley Calls Time On NZ Production In Face Of Cheap Imports

Croxley Stationery, whose stationery brands include Olympic, Warwick and Collins, plans to cease manufacturing in New Zealand because it has struggled to compete with lower-cost imports in a market where the printed word is giving way to electronic communications. More>>

ALSO:

Prefu Roundup: Forecasts Revised, Surplus Intact

The National government heads into the election with its Budget surplus target broadly intact, delivering a set of economic and fiscal forecasts marginally revised from May to reflect weaker commodity prices and a lower tax take. More>>

ALSO:

Convention Centre: Major New SkyCity Hotel And Laneway For Auckland

Today SKYCITY Entertainment Group Limited revealed plans to build a new hotel and pedestrian laneway of bars, restaurants and boutique shopping on land it owns in the Nelson and Hobson Streets block, expanding the SKYCITY Entertainment Precinct. More>>

ALSO:

Igniting The Spark: Bringing The Digital Enabler To Life

Changing a name is, relatively speaking, the easy part of a re-invention. Changing a culture, getting all the ducks in a row, turning yourself inside-out to become customer-inspired is a much bigger challenge. More>>

ALSO:

Ebola And NZ: Targeted Screening At Airport But Risk Low

The risk of any cases of Ebola in New Zealand remains very low, but health and border authorities are well prepared... anyone arriving in New Zealand who in the last three weeks has visited countries affected will be screened for symptoms of the disease. More>>

ALSO:

Scoop Business: Brewer Seeking Crowd-Funding Cancels Shareholders’ Dividends

Shareholders in Renaissance Brewing company, the first business to seek equity through crowd-funding in New Zealand, have cancelled their claim on $147,000 of accumulated earnings “to make Renaissance a more attractive investment opportunity.” More>>

ALSO:

Get More From Scoop

 
 
Computer Power Plus

Standards New Zealand

Standards New Zealand
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Business
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news