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Rating Action:

MOODY'S INVESTORS SERVICE UPGRADES THE LONG-TERM DEBT RATINGS OF THE KROGER COMPANY

27 Feb 1997
MOODY'S INVESTORS SERVICE UPGRADES THE LONG-TERM DEBT RATINGS OF THE KROGER COMPANY New York, 02-27-97 -- Moody's Investors Service upgraded the long-term debt ratings of The Kroger Company based upon the improvement in the company's operating and financial performance and the expectation that debt protection measures will continue to improve, as well as the strength of Kroger's valuable franchise in the grocery industry.
Ratings upgraded are:
Ratings for senior unsecured notes and certificates, bank credit facility, MTN program, and industrial revenue bonds to Baa3 from Ba1.
Ratings for senior subordinated notes and debentures to Ba2 from Ba3.
Rating of senior unsecured shelf registration to (P)Baa3 from (P)Ba1.
Rating of subordinated shelf registration to (P)Ba2 from (P)Ba3.
This action completes the ratings review announced January 24, 1997.
Moody's said that Kroger has a solid consumer franchise and a large, geographically diversified store base. The company's size has allowed it to achieve operating efficiencies, which are being enhanced by investments in logistics and technology projects. Profit margins have steadily risen from consistent cost cutting efforts, and the balance sheet has been strengthened by Kroger's progress in reducing debt and in refinancing and extending maturities. This upgrade anticipates further improvements in profitability, debt protection measures and capital structure.
Although Kroger has healthy and leading market shares in its major trade areas, and although it has successfully dealt with the entry of supercenters into many of its markets, competition continues to be fierce. The company's debt level is high, while both its growth and its logistical and technological initiatives require ambitious capital expenditures. However, significant earnings gains should come from the larger spending on new stores and renovations, and investments in technology and distribution should result in more expense reductions. Moody's expects Kroger to remain committed to the prudent financial management necessary to promote financial flexibility.
Moody's has changed its rating outlook to the following: Kroger is appropriately positioned at the current rating level, which assumes ongoing improvement in earnings and cash flow generation, as well as debt protection measures.
The Kroger Company, headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, and its wholly owned subsidiary, Dillon Companies, Inc., operate 1,356 supermarkets in 16 states under the names of "Kroger", "King Soopers", "Dillon Food Stores", "Fry's Food Stores", "City Market", "Gerbes Supermarkets", and "Sav-Mor". Dillon Companies also operates and franchises 831 convenience stores.

No Related Data.
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