Current market conditions are causing problems for everyone in the chemical industry. But as the blog has long feared, they are particularly testing those companies with higher debt levels. On Friday, Moody’s announced a downgrading of the Corporate Family Rating of Lyondell Basell Industries to B3 to B1, and said the outlook “remains negative”.
Yesterday, INEOS asked for “a waiver on its covenants”. As the Financial Times reports: “The highly indebted chemicals group is struggling with a loss on its large inventory of oil following the decline in petrochemicals prices. It is also feeling the knock-on effects of a rapid deterioration in the housing and automotive sectors, two big users of its products.”
The FT says that INEOS currently has €7.3bn in net debt. Q3 EBITDA was reportedly 20% down at €402m, causing INEOS to ask for the waiver for the next 6 months “whilst we wait for the mists to clear”. The FT adds that INEOS will present a new 5 year business plan to its bankers by April, and could consider selling assets to reduce leverage.