Fitch cuts LyondellBasell's outlook on poor H1

30 October 2008 15:11  [Source: ICIS news]

TORONTO (ICIS news)--Fitch has reduced its outlook for Netherlands-based petrochemicals major LyondellBasell from "stable" to "negative" to reflect lower than expected first-half operating results and worsening prospects in the US and Europe, it said on Thursday.


The credit ratings agency also said it withdrew its rating on LyondellBasell’s $8bn (€6.2bn) bridge loan following the company's amendments to the structure of the loan.


The company had so far been unable to tap the virtually closed high-yield market to refinance the $8bn bridge loan facility and incurred a substantial increase in interest costs of this facility to around 12% as of 20 June 2008, Fitch said.


In a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission on 23 October, LyondellBasell had agreed with lenders to roll over outstanding bridge loan commitments expiring on 20 December into three tranches of $3.5bn 12% fixed rate second lien loans, $2.0bn floating rate second lien loans and $2.5bn floating rate third lien loans, Fitch said.


Fitch affirmed LyondellBasell’s long-term and short-term issuer default ratings at “B+” and “B”, respectively, it said.


The ratings were supported, among other factors, by the company’s access to substantial liquidity sources of $2.86m at end of June 2008, Fitch said.


($1 = €0.78)


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By: Stefan Baumgarten
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