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06 Nov 1995
MOODY'S REVIEWS DEBT RATINGS OF INTERNATIONAL PAPER FOR DOWNGRADE; DEBT RATINGS OF FEDERAL PAPER BOARD ON REVIEW FOR UPGRADE
New York, 11-06-95 -- Moody's Investors Service placed the credit ratings of International Paper Company (IP) under review for possible downgrade following the company's announcement that it will merge with Federal Paper Board Company, Inc. in a cash and stock transaction valued at approximately $3.5 billion, including the assumption of debt. Moody's also placed the credit ratings of Federal Paper Board's under review for possible upgrade based on IP's intention to assume its debt. IP's Prime-2 rating for commercial paper is confirmed. Also, according to the rating agency, the debt ratings of IP's 50.2% owned subsidiary, Carter Holt Harvey Ltd. (CHH), are confirmed with a negative outlook.
Ratings under Review are:
International Paper Company: A3 senior unsecured notes, debentures, medium term notes; (P) A3 shelf registration for senior notes, (P)Baa1 shelf registration for subordinated notes; (P)"baa1" shelf registration for preferred stock.
International Paper Capital Trust: "baa1" guaranteed convertible preferred securities.
Federal Paper Board Company Inc: Baa3 senior unsecured debentures; (P)Baa3 shelf registration; "ba2" preferred stock.
Confirmed ratings are:
Carter Holt Harvey Ltd.: Baa2 senior unsecured notes and debentures; Prime-2 rating for commercial paper.
In its review, Moody's will analyze the resulting capital structure and the earnings and cash flow outlook for the combined entity over the economic cycle of the forest and paper products industry. Moody's noted that IP has been aggressively expanding through acquisitions, and although the company has financed its expansion with a measure of equity, its financial leverage has increased moderately. The rating agency will focus on IP's strategy for further expansion and on the company's target debt protection measures over the medium term.
In a separate issue, Moody's noted that IP's 50.2% owned subsidiary, Carter Holt Harvey Ltd., has filed with the New Zealand Securities Commission for anti-trust clearance in order to be able to bid for the state-owned Forestry Corporation of New Zealand. Moody's recognizes that this matter is at a relatively early stage. However, the ultimate price tag, should CHH succeed, could be substantial and, if funded primarily with debt, this could have negative consequences for CHH's debt ratings.
International Paper Company, headquartered in Purchase, New York, is a worldwide producer of printing papers, packaging and forest products. Federal Paper Board Company, Inc., headquartered in Montvale, New Jersey, is a paper, packaging products and forest products company.
No Related Data.
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