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16 Jun 2003
MOODY'S ASSIGNS Baa1 ISSUER RATING TO AMCOR LTD, OUTLOOK NEGATIVE
Sydney, June 16, 2003 -- Moody's Investors Service has assigned a Baa1 Senior Unsecured Issuer
Rating to Amcor Ltd ("Amcor"). At the same time,
Moody's has affirmed Amcor's Baa2 sub-debt rating and P-2
short term rating. The rating outlook remains negative.
Moody's says that the Baa1 senior secured rating reflects Amcor's
leading position in the Australasian packaging market, which has
continued to generate stable operating cash flow to fund its overseas
expansion. The rating also recognizes the strengths of Amcor post-acquisition
of the PET and closure business of German-based packaging company
Schmalbach-Lubeca AG ("SML"), as well as its
diversified product mix and geographic operations.
Moody's notes that Amcor management has a strong appetite for participating
in the consolidation of the global packaging industry and has since 2000
made several key investments, including a 3-way merger of
the European flexible packaging JV and SML, which have significantly
strengthened its global market positions in the fast-growing PET
and flexible packaging segments. Amcor has benefited from the acquisition
of profitable and established customer bases and increased its sales to
the relatively stable food and beverage industry, while at the same
time reducing its reliance on the mature Australian market.
Moody's expects that Amcor will continue to look for new investment
opportunities in the overseas packaging business, such as the recent
announcement to purchase Alcoa's Latin American PET packaging business
for A$115M. The rating recognizes Amcor management's
demonstrated financial discipline by using of a mix of equity/debt and
cash from assets sales to fund its new investments. Moody's
takes additional comfort from its financial policy of maintaining net
debt/capital not exceeding 45% and EBITDA/Int of at least 6x.
The negative outlook reflects the challenge for Amcor's management
to successfully integrate the large scale investments/acquisitions to
achieve the projected synergies and operating performances. Moody's
however notes that integrations of the European flexible packaging and
SML operations are progressing and its 6-month results ended December
2002 reported 25% growth in operating profits. We will continue
to evaluate the progress of the integrations and assess if Amcor is able
to achieve the projected results and synergies.
Following the maturity of the US$125M Sunclipse guaranteed notes
in June this year, Amcor will have approximately A$950M of
debts maturing in FY2004, which will be covered by its projected
free cash flow of about A$350M and available committed bank facilities
of over A$1,000M. The maturity dates of most of these
facilities go beyond 2006 and contain MAC clause. Moody's
draw additional comfort from Amcor's ability to tap domestic and
international debt markets for its funding requirements.
New rating assigned:
Amcor Ltd, Issuer Rating, Baa1
Amcor Ltd/Amcor Finance (USA) Inc, US$200M CP Program,
Amcor Ltd, A$600M CP Program, P-2
Amcor Ltd, US$230M PRIDES (sub-debt), Baa2
Amcor Investments (New Zealand) Ltd, A$600M PACRS (sub-debt)
guaranteed by Amcor Ltd, Baa2
Amcor Limited, headquartered in Melbourne, Australia,
is an international packaging product manufacturing company, with
operations in North America, Europe and the Asia Pacific region.
Moody's Investors Service Pty Ltd
612 9270 8100
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Moody's Asia Pacific Ltd.
No Related Data.
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