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Rating Action:

MOODY'S CONFIRMS DEBT RATINGS OF THOMSON S.A. (SR. AT Baa1); THOMSON-CSF (COUNTERPARTY AT A3); ALCATEL ALSTHOM (SR. AT A1); AND AEROSPATIALE (PRIME-1)

15 Oct 1997
MOODY'S CONFIRMS DEBT RATINGS OF THOMSON S.A. (SR. AT Baa1); THOMSON-CSF (COUNTERPARTY AT A3); ALCATEL ALSTHOM (SR. AT A1); AND AEROSPATIALE (PRIME-1) New York, 10-15-97 -- Moody's confirmed today the debt ratings of the following companies: Thomson S.A. and its subsidiary Thomson-CSF; Alcatel Alsthom; and Aerospatiale SNI. These actions follow the French government's decision announced on Monday to combine Alcatel's military communications business, Dassault's defense electronics business and Aerospatiale's satellites business under the umbrella of Thomson-CSF.
This represents the French Government's decision to further the privatization of Thomson-CSF, and to encourage the consolidation of the French defense industry and the beginning of a Pan-European defense industry consolidation.
This transaction will reduce Thomson SA's ownership in Thomson-CSF to 35% from about 58% currently, but this reduction will be offset by the significantly larger size of Thomson-CSF and its enhanced business potential. Moody's said that the government's action is in line with the consolidation of the defense industry which has reached its final round in the United States, but is only in the beginning in Europe. The rating agency believes that this decision may become the catalyst for a more rapid consolidation process in Europe.
Moody's noted, however, that while this transaction is positive for Thomson the imperative need for consolidation of the European defense industry overall makes it likely that acquisitions, mergers, or alliances may have an impact either negative or positive on the credit quality of Thomson-CSF and possibly on Thomson S.A. Moody's will closely watch such developments and will make rating adjustments accordingly. Moody's will also consider the success of Thomson SA's restructuring efforts, including its recapitalization and cost structure improving programs.
Together with Dassault, Alcatel Alsthom will gain a minority interest in the combined defense electronics businesses of the Thomson CSF, which will achieve immediate global leadership in military communications. More importantly, however, Alcatel Alsthom will have a controlling stake in Europe's largest satellite operation. This will significantly strengthen its position in satellite communications, an increasingly important extension of telecommunications. In addition to the gains in market positions, Thomson-CSF will benefit from coordinated research and development spending.
Concluding Moody's stressed that this transaction is an important step on the road to European defense consolidation. But, the type of organization structures/relationships are as yet not fully defined and could involve event risk for some or all of the participants.
Ratings confirmed are:
Thomson S.A. – the Baa1 senior rating of its MTN program; the Baa1 counterparty rating; and the Prime-2 short-term rating of the company for commercial paper.
Thomson Commercial Paper (US) Inc. – Prime-2 rating for commercial paper guaranteed by Thomson S.A.
Thomson Brandt International B.V. – the Baa1 rating on senior debt guaranteed by Thomson S.A.
Thomson-CSF – the A3 counterparty rating.
Alcatel Alsthom S.A. -- A1 for senior unsecured debt, and the Prime-1 for short term debt, including Billet de Tresorie.
Alcatel Alsthom, Inc. -- A1 for senior unsecured debt.
Alcatel Alsthom Finance, Inc. -- Prime-1 short-term debt rating for commercial paper backed by the parent company; and
Alcatel Capital Corporation -- A1 rating for senior unsecured medium-term notes guaranteed by the parent company.
Alcatel N.V. -- A1 rating for the senior unsecured medium-term notes.
Alcatel Alsthom Finance Ltd--Prime-1 short-term debt rating for commercial paper.
Compagnie Generale D' Electricit‚ -- A1 rating for convertible eurobond.
Aerospatiale SNI-Prime-1 short-term debt rating for commercial paper.
Thomson S.A., headquartered in Paris, France, is a major manufacturer of defense and consumer electronics. Thomson-CSF, headquartered in Paris, is the defense electronics subsidiary of Thomson S.A.
Alcatel Alsthom, S.A., headquartered in Paris, France, is a diversified company involved in telecommunications, cable, energy and transportation, and electrical engineering.
Aerospatiale SNI, headquartered in Paris, France, is a major aerospace/defense company.

No Related Data.
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