Dow’s debt ratings cut – could hit junk status

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Over the last few weeks, INEOS had to scramble to get a covenant waiver from its lenders, and Lyondell went into Chapter 11. Now Dow’s debt is facing a potential cut to junk status from the main ratings agencies.

Dow’s rating has already been cut, following the collapse of the K-Dow deal with Kuwait. And the agencies are worried by the lack of a convincing contingency plan to cover the lost cash. The blog suggested this would be required last month. The need is now urgent, due to the perceived lack of long-term financing for the proposed Rohm & Haas acquisition.

Moody’s for example, have said they “would not assign an investment grade rating to this company if it had short-term debt of $11 billion to $12 billion”. Similarly, S&P have said they want “proof of $15bn in financing to maintain the investment-grade rating”. A junk rating would mean tens of millions in dollars in extra financing costs – not something that could be easily absorbed in today’s difficult markets.

About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. Paul is also an invited member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council. The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry over the next 12 – 18 months. It will try to look behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in important issues such as oil prices, economic growth and the environment. We may also have some fun, investigating a few of the more offbeat events that take place from time to time. 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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