12 August 2011 21:48 [Source: ICIS news]
HOUSTON (ICIS)--Moody's Investment Service upgraded its outlook on US-based Huntsman to positive from stable because of improvements in its finances and products lines, the ratings firm said on Friday.
Among the product lines, Moody's singled out those made by the performance products and pigment segments.
Performance products makes amines and surfactants among others. Pigments produces titanium dioxide (TiO2).
Several of Huntsman's key end markets have improved, increasing cash flow, Moody's said. That, in turn, should allow Huntsman to pay off debt in the next 12–18 months.
Regarding finances, Huntsman does not have any large amounts of debt maturing before 2014, Moody's said. In addition, the company has ready access to money.
Still, Huntsman is highly leveraged considering the current stage of the chemical cycle, Moody's said. Plus, feedstock costs could rise while demand could fall in key end markets, such as automobiles and housing.
Moody's upgrade comes as Huntsman's shares fell sharply during the recent downturn in the stock market.
Since the end of July, the stock has fallen to about $14 from about $20.
In addition to raising Huntsman's outlook, Moody's maintained its B1 score for the company's corporate family rating.
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