LyondellBasell debt downgraded, INEOS seeks waivers

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.

About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. He also serves as a Global Expert for the World Economic Forum. The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry and the global economy over the next 12 – 18 months. It looks behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in critical areas such as oil prices, China and Emerging Markets, currencies, autos, housing, economic growth and the environment. Please do join me and share your thoughts. Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.

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