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Moody’s affirms Vedanta’s ratings following Asarco buyout

Moody’s affirms Vedanta’s ratings following Asarco buyout
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First Published: Tue, Jun 03 2008. 04 44 PM IST
Updated: Tue, Jun 03 2008. 04 44 PM IST
PTI
New Delhi: Global rating agency Moody’s has reaffirmed the ratings of Vedanta Resources Plc with a stable outlook following the $2.6 billion acquisition of US-based Asarco by Sterlite Industries.
The agency has re-affirmed the corporate family ratings of bonds in investment grade with Baa3 and senior unsecured rating to bonds on non-investment grade to Ba1, Moody’s said.
According to Moody’s ratings, Baa3 signifies bonds of medium grade quality, wherein the security currently appears sufficient, but may be unreliable over the long term and Ba1, refers to non-investment grade bonds having moderate security of future payments.
Last week Sterlite Industries, the Indian arm of London listed Vedanta Resources, had inked a definitive agreement to acquire Asarco LLC for $2.6 billion, which is the largest buyout abroad by an Indian company this year.
The transaction will be funded by combination of debt and existing cash reserves. Outlook on the ratings remain stable, the agency stated.
“The proposed acquisition is manageable within Vedanta’s ratings in view of its financial flexibility, highlighted by strong debt coverage measures and high level of liquid assets,” Moody’s Assistant Vice President Ivan Palacios said.
Asarco, formerly known as American Smelting and Refining Company, is the third largest copper producer in the US. The company had filed for bankruptcy protection in 2005 after being sued for USD one billion over environmental issues. It has produced 2.35 lakh tonnes of refined copper in 2007.
“However, this transaction could weaken Vedanta’s position within the rating, leaving it with limited cushion to withstand incremental operating challenges or further sustained weaknesses in base metal prices”, Palacios added.
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First Published: Tue, Jun 03 2008. 04 44 PM IST