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Rating Action:

Moody's Assigns Baa3 and Aa3.za Ratings to Barloworld Limited, stable outlook

02 Jun 2016

Johannesburg, June 02, 2016 -- Moody's Investors Service ("Moody's") has today assigned Barloworld Limited ("Barloworld") first time long-term and short-term issuer Global Scale Ratings of Baa3 and P-3 and long-term and short-term National Scale Ratings ("NSR") of Aa3.za and P-1.za. The outlook on the ratings is stable.

RATINGS RATIONALE

"The Baa3/Aa3.za issuer ratings recognise Barloworld's leading competitive market positions, supported by strong brand offerings and stable long term relationships with its principal suppliers", says Dion Bate, a Moody's Vice President Senior Analyst and lead analyst for Barloworld.

"The ratings also consider Barloworld's diversified product mix and its resilient business model, whereby its integrated after sales support segments are able to soften the impact from the decline in new equipment and vehicle sales during cyclical downturns", adds Mr Bate.

Barloworld's credit metrics have historically been relatively stable and are supported by the company's ongoing commitment to balanced financial policies. While adjusted debt/EBITDA of 2.6x is moderately positioned within the rating category, Barloworld's EBIT/interest expense cover of 2.8x and operating margin of 6.5% are weakly positioned (as of the last 12 months (LTM) to 31 March 2016). Ratings also consider Barloworld's good liquidity position resulting from its favourable debt maturity profile.

The rating is constrained by Barloworld's exposure to (1) the Sub-Saharan African and Russian markets, leaving it exposed to the weak economic conditions of these countries and (2) more cyclical mining, agricultural, construction and motor related industries which are currently experiencing prolonged depressed global commodity prices and weaker local consumer environments. In addition, Barloworld is exposed to key supplier risk as most of its operations depend on its position as the principal agent for a number of high profile brands such as Caterpillar Inc (A2 negative). This is mitigated by its long term relationships and close strategic alignment as well as, in some cases, its fixed term contractual agreements with its principal suppliers, which we expect to continue.

Barloworld's liquidity as of 31 March 2016 is considered good whereby Barloworld has sufficient available committed facilities totaling ZAR5 billion ($340 million) and cash of ZAR2.3 billion ($157 million) to meet debt maturities of ZAR2.9 billion ($197 million) (includes ZAR1.8 billion of drawn on-demand bank facilities), committed capital expenditure and seasonal working capital needs. Barloworld has an evenly spread debt maturity profile over the next seven years but there is reliance on short term debt (commercial paper, 365 day notice facilities and on-demand facilities) to fund its working capital needs. Barloworld's split between long term and short term debt maturities remained at 68:32 as of 31 March 2016 in line with FYE2015. We will continue to closely monitor Barloworld's liquidity profile, particularly given the seasonality of its working capital.

OUTLOOK RATIONALE

The stable outlook reflects our expectation that Barloworld will maintain its leading market position across its operations, as well as its strong relationships with its key principals. The outlook assumes management will pursue balanced financial policies resulting in relatively stable credit metrics over the next 12 to 18 months as well as maintain a good liquidity profile.

WHAT COULD CHANGE THE RATING UP/DOWN

The ratings could be upgraded if (1) the company is able to grow and diversify geographically, while maintaining its financial performance under challenging operating conditions; (2) adjusted debt/EBITDA were to fall below 2.0x; (3) EBIT/interest expense increases above 4.0x; and (4) there is a positive and sustainable free cash flow position.

Downward pressure on the ratings would develop if operating performance were to weaken, to the extent there are revenue and operating margin declines translating into weaker debt protection measures such that debt/EBITDA rises above 3.0x or its EBIT/interest expense falls below 2.5x for an extended period. Negative pressure would also rise if the company's liquidity risk profile deteriorates.

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Retail Industry published in October 2015. Please see the Ratings Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

Moody's National Scale Credit Ratings (NSRs) are intended as relative measures of creditworthiness among debt issues and issuers within a country, enabling market participants to better differentiate relative risks. NSRs differ from Moody's global scale credit ratings in that they are not globally comparable with the full universe of Moody's rated entities, but only with NSRs for other rated debt issues and issuers within the same country. NSRs are designated by a ".nn" country modifier signifying the relevant country, as in ".za" for South Africa. For further information on Moody's approach to national scale credit ratings, please refer to Moody's Credit rating Methodology published in May 2016 entitled "Mapping National Scale Ratings from Global Scale Ratings". While NSRs have no inherent absolute meaning in terms of default risk or expected loss, a historical probability of default consistent with a given NSR can be inferred from the GSR to which it maps back at that particular point in time. For information on the historical default rates associated with different global scale rating categories over different investment horizons, please see https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_189530.

Barloworld, headquartered in South Africa, is a leading distributor and after sales support provider of heavy equipment and motor vehicles for leading international brands across Sub-Saharan Africa, Russia, Spain and Portugal. It also provides integrated rental, fleet management, product support and logistics solutions. The group's core divisions comprise (1) Equipment, which provides end-to-end solutions on behalf of Caterpillar Inc. to the mining, construction, industrial sectors; (2) Handling, which distributes a number of global brands, such as Hyster and Massey Ferguson, to the agricultural and material handling sectors; and (3) Automotive, which operates the motor retail, car rental, and fleet management services; and (4) Logistics, which provide logistics management transport and supply chain optimisation.

For the LTM to 31 March 2016, Barloworld reported revenues totaled ZAR64 billion ($4.7 billion) and adjusted EBITDA totaled ZAR7.7 billion ($566 million).

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For ratings issued on a program, series or category/class of debt, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series or category/class of debt or pursuant to a program for which the ratings are derived exclusively from existing ratings in accordance with Moody's rating practices. For ratings issued on a support provider, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the credit rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular credit rating action for securities that derive their credit ratings from the support provider's credit rating. For provisional ratings, this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to the provisional rating assigned, and in relation to a definitive rating that may be assigned subsequent to the final issuance of the debt, in each case where the transaction structure and terms have not changed prior to the assignment of the definitive rating in a manner that would have affected the rating. For further information please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page for the respective issuer on www.moodys.com.

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For further information on these definitions or on Moody's ratings symbols, please consult the Rating Symbols and Definitions document on www.moodys.com

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

Please see www.moodys.com for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

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Dion Bate
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service South Africa (Pty) Ltd.
The Forum
2 Maude Street
2196 Sandton
Johannesburg
South Africa
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

David G. Staples
MD - Corporate Finance
Corporate Finance Group
Telephone: 00971 4237 9536

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service South Africa (Pty) Ltd.
The Forum
2 Maude Street
2196 Sandton
Johannesburg
South Africa
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's Assigns Baa3 and Aa3.za Ratings to Barloworld Limited, stable outlook
No Related Data.
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