Analytical Leadership in Europe
Having rated European issuers of debt obligations since 1920, Moodys rating activities have been expanding rapidly in line with the growth of the Eurobond market in the 1980s.
Today, Moody’s is one of Europe's leading rating agencies, with offices in London, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Frankfurt, Limassol, Prague, Moscow and Johannesburg, with subsidiary and affiliate offices in Tel Aviv and Cairo.
As the world’s oldest rating agency, Moody’s prides itself on being able to meet the needs of its European customers thanks to a combination of local expertise and global experience, while ensuring consistency with other Moody’s offices worldwide. Our analysts, who come from a variety of European countries commonly speak at least the local language in addition to English, reflect Moody's strong global exposure to the capital markets.
Moody’s rates and publishes independent credit opinions on fixed-income securities, issuers of securities and other credit obligations. We rate debt obligations in the areas of Banking, Corporate, Project Finance, Sovereign and Regional/Local Governments and Supranationals, Structured Finance, Insurance and Managed Funds.
Against the background of deepening European economic integration, Moody’s is committed to meeting the growing demands of Europe’s credit market participants. Our experience both locally and globally means that we can tailor our products and services accordingly.
Frederic Drevon, Managing Director - Regional Head EMEA
Issuer's Guide to Moody's Rating Process
This section provides important information about the Moody's rating process for issuers or prospective issuers of debt. Our Business Development Team is available by phone, e-mail, or for one-on-one meetings to answer all of your questions about the rating process, including: How long does it take? What information do I need to provide? What sort of rating should I get? Is confidentiality assured?
If you have questions about our procedures or would like to engage us for a rating, please contact the relevant member of our Business Development Team below, or scroll down to learn more about the Moody’s rating process.
Your Business Development Team
Head of Business Development, EMEA
+49 69 707 30 709
UK and Ireland
Syndicated Loans and Insurance
Vice President – Syndicated Loan Ratings, EMEA
+44 20 7772 8753
Central & Eastern Europe
Assistant Vice President – Business Development
+48 509 112 199
Branch Manager, Moody’s Central Europe
+420 221 666 312
France, Benelux and Nordic Region
Senior Vice President - Business Development, EMEA
+33 1 53 30 10 32
Germany, Austria and Switzerland
Business Development, EMEA
+49 69 707 30 746
Russia & CIS
General Manager -Moody’s Eastern Europe, EMEA
+44 20 7772 5327
Spain, Italy and Portugal
Business Development - Italy
General Manager – Moody’s Middle East
+44 971 4 401 9535
General Manager - Moody’s South Africa Pty
Senior Vice President - Business Development CFG & FIG, EMEA
+44 20 7772 5327
• First-Time Rating Process
• Our Rating Methodology
• What To Expect From The Moody’s Rating Relationship
• The Value of Ratings To The Rated
First-Time Rating Process
Obtaining a Moody's rating is an active, ongoing dialogue between the issuer and our analysts. As an issuer, you naturally play a critical role in the rating process, which is transparent and entails an open dialogue about our views, processes and conclusions. Once issued, our ratings are continuously examined and updated through dialogues and regular meetings in which you are encouraged to raise any concerns and present all materials that you believe are pertinent to our analysis.
If you are new to Moody’s, the rating process begins with an introductory meeting. An associate from our Business Development team will introduce Moody’s procedures and discuss the specific sorts of data that will be most useful in developing an understanding of your organisation. Our goal at this point is to ensure that you understand our approach to credit analysis and the types of information that will be most important to us.
Moody’s concentrates on several essential elements relevant to your long-term and short-term risk profile. Typically, we find that this information is already available internally and is not dissimilar to the sort of information that you might present to senior management.
Meeting with management
The initial analytical meeting often takes place at your head office and typically lasts a full morning or day including site visits. Moody’s will discuss any issues that you deem relevant. For example, for an industrial company we would tend to focus on the following subjects:
• Background and history of the group and the specific entity that will issue the debt.
• Corporate strategy and philosophy – usually presented by the CEO, CFO or combination thereof.
• A full analysis of business risk including industry analysis, competitive position, cyclicality and seasonality, vulnerability to technical changes, and regulatory environment.
• A detailed analysis of the company's financial risk including (1) cash flow stability and predictability and the ability to service debt obligations, (2) operating margin development and outlook, (3) the cost structure and the ability to drive efficiencies, and (4) a balance sheet analysis in terms of debt profile-maturity and quantum. This analysis is forward-looking and would include a review of three-year financial projections.
• An analysis of the management team both in terms of their strategic vision for the company going forward and track record and ability to successfully execute that strategy.
Committee's rating decision
Following the meeting the analytical team undertakes further due diligence – generally in consultation with the company’s finance team – and ultimately makes a recommendation to a credit committee specifically constituted for your company. This tends to consist of the relevant industry specialists, relevant Managing Director and other credit specialists within Moody’s.
Rating process timeline
Typically the entire rating process, from your preliminary discussion with us to the public release of the rating, takes about 90 days. We are sensitive to the many concerns you may have about timing and can adjust the process to accommodate tighter financing schedules and other needs.
Once our rating committee has made its decision, you will be informed of the rating and our rationale. If you decide to proceed, the new rating is distributed by press release simultaneously to the major financial media worldwide. It is our practice to release rating opinions before each issue sells so that investors may use them in their purchase decisions. A detailed description of your organisation, the rating rationale and the specific rated issue will also appear on our web site and in various Moody’s publications.
Please note that we provide unrated European rating applicants with the ability to determine whether or not their ratings will be made public. We recognise that issuers' trust in the confidential nature of our relationship is an essential component of the rating process. We fully appreciate and understand the necessity of keeping the information in our possession confidential at all times and we make every effort to do so.
To download our report, Understanding Moody's Corporate Bond Ratings and Rating Process, in acrobat format, please click HERE.
Our Rating Methodology
Moody's analyses all relevant risk factors and viewpoints in arriving at a rating opinion. Several analytical principles guide that process.
1. Focus on the long term – Our analytical focus is on fundamental factors that will drive an issuer's long-term ability to meet debt payments, such as major economic downturns, a radical change in management strategy, or major regulatory developments. Our ratings are not intended to ratchet up and down with business or supply-demand cycles or to reflect short-term market movements.
2. Emphasis on stability and predictability of cash flow – One of our main concentrations is on getting behind the drivers of cash flow generation and, in particular, the predictability and sustainability of cash flow. We will examine financial projections in detail and endeavour to understand with you the key assumptions behind the projections. If appropriate, we will undertake sensitivity analyses on management base cases and build into the model a modest economic downturn to help determine cash flow resilience.
Specific risk factors likely to be weighed in a given rating will vary considerably by sector. Detailed methodology reports for all major sectors we follow can be obtained through our Issuer Marketing Team and on the Rating Methodology section of the site.
What to Expect from the Moody’s Rating Relationship
We understand that issuers want timely and clear responses to their questions and concerns. We know these are essential elements of a positive professional relationship. To that end, we have developed some best practices for our analytical teams.
• The Moody’s analytical team will contact you ahead of meetings to let you know our agenda and to seek your agenda issues, tell you who will be attending from Moody’s, and confirm the time and place for the meeting.
• We will come prepared, having read recent materials about your organisation, such as the presentation book for the meeting and the quarterly statement.
• We will strive to ensure that you know where we stand on key credit issues for your organisation (both the plusses and the minuses), our credit rating outlook and the most important factors that could lead us to a rating.
• We will strive to ensure that you are familiar with our analytical methodologies and absorb your insights.
• We will listen carefully to your views on your firm and your industry.
• We will keep open minds.
• We will answer your questions as fully and promptly as we can.
• We will understand your securities issuance and other deadlines, and strive to meet them.
• We will follow up after meetings to ensure matters remain on track, and that your questions for us have been answered.
We expect you to let us know how we are measuring up on these commitments. Subsequent to most meetings, you should receive a feedback form that will give you a chance to let us know your opinion. We ask you to take the time to complete it so we can serve you better. Our door is always open.
The Value of Ratings to the Rated
There are several ways in which investors use ratings that in turn provide value to issuers. For many investors, ratings are a critical element in pricing securities and are often used as a benchmark for setting investment guidelines. By providing dependable, globally comparable opinions on credit risk, Moody’s ratings thus help to open investment horizons to a wider variety of market segments.
Wider access to capital
Since our credit opinions are widely disseminated, broadly used and clearly understood by institutional investors, they can open an issuer’s debt to a wider range of potential buyers. In today’s global markets, a rating is in effect a “credit passport” that can provide access to international pools of debt capital in, for instance, markets where an issuer is not well known or where investors may not be familiar with the issuer’s language, its business culture, or its accounting conventions.
This wider market access typically translates into reduced funding costs, particularly for higher-rated issuers. The credibility of our ratings may also allow rated issuers to enter the capital markets more frequently and more economically and to sell larger offerings at longer maturities.
Ratings and the reports on the research behind our opinions can also help to maintain investor confidence, especially during periods of market stress. For example, a news item could adversely affect the prices of a company’s outstanding bonds, even if the news has no real impact on the bonds' long-term creditworthiness. The reassurance of a Moody’s rating and accompanying analysis of the situation can help to alleviate investor concerns.