BBD: DBRS Upgrades Trend to Stable

DBRS has announced (on 2017-11-27) that it:

confirmed the Issuer Rating of Bombardier Inc. (Bombardier or the Company) at B and has changed the trend to Stable from Negative. This action reflects some evidence of stabilization in the Company’s financial profile, albeit at a very weak level; the expectation that further modest improvement should be achievable over the next 12 months; material progress achieved after two years of the Company’s margin-improving five-year transformation initiative, especially in the rail division; greater visibility regarding the viability of the C Series program as a result of the partnership announced with Airbus SE; and liquidity that remains sufficient for near-term requirements. Bombardier’s rating continues to be supported by its 70% stake in Bombardier Transportation (BT), a global leader in rail manufacturing and solutions; the significant capital and technological barriers to entry into its various business lines; and the Company’s broad portfolio of business aircraft offerings, to be complemented by the ultra-long-distance Global 7000, which is currently undergoing flight testing and may enter into service in H2 2018. Significant execution risks associated with new aircraft development, volatile end markets and modest margins are structural challenges.

DBRS anticipates that the Company’s business risk profile is likely to remain largely unchanged over the next 12 months, although further improvements from the transformation program should be supportive. The financial risk profile should achieve modest improvement, although DBRS views the Company’s target of achieving a free cash flow break-even position in 2018 as aggressive. Key metrics are projected to improve to within at least the B rating category in F2018.

Overall, DBRS views Bombardier’s strategic actions, such as the Airbus partnership, operating performance within the context of the transformation plan and important milestones achieved such as the successful flight testing hours of the Global 7000 as illustrative of a more stable footing. Liquidity remains adequate for near-term requirements and there are no significant long-term debt maturities until 2020. (DBRS expects the new issuance of 7.50% Senior Notes due in 2024 that is currently underway, and the associated tender offer for the 4.75% Senior Notes due 2019, to be successful.) Bombardier would need to demonstrate material improvement in key financial metrics and prove that free cash flow surpluses have been achieved or are imminent before DBRS would consider an upgrade. Significant cost overruns or Entry-Into-Service (EIS) delays of the Global 7000, evidence that the margin gains under the transformation plan are not sustainable, concerns regarding liquidity, or substantial downturns in key destination markets may lead to DBRS considering a downgrade.

This is an unsolicited credit rating.

This rating is no longer endorsed by DBRS Ratings Limited for use in the European Union.

BBD was downgraded to Pfd-4(low) by DBRS in November 2013, and the preferred share coverage was immediately discontinued. Affected issues (since the issuer rating will affect everything) are BBD.PR.B, BBD.PR.C and BBD.PR.D.

S&P downgraded the issues to P-5(low) in September 2016, where they remain.

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