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Announcement:

Moody's: French bond issuance volumes to be resilient in 2017, as large and repeat issuers will continue to drive the market

 The document has been translated in other languages

17 Oct 2016

Paris, October 17, 2016 -- French non-financial corporate bond issuance will remain resilient in 2017 on the back of favourable bond market conditions, the refinancing needs of large and repeat issuers and the country's broadly stable economy, says Moody's Investors Service in a new report. However, the French economy's subdued growth prospects, the upcoming presidential elections and the healthy liquidity of French corporates could constrain issuance.

Moody's report, titled "French Non-Financial Corporates - Bond issuance to be resilient in 2017 as large, repeat issuers continue to drive the market", is available on www.moodys.com. Moody's subscribers can access this report via the link provided at the end of this press release.

"We expect issuance momentum to continue in the next 12 months, with at least EUR60 billion in 2017, owing to the refinancing needs of large corporates and improving bond market conditions, as seen in the second half of 2016. However, volumes may drop during the election period, as companies put investment and M&A plans on hold until the next president formalizes his or her economic and tax reform programmes," says Guillaume Leglise, a Moody's Analyst and author of the report.

Overall, French corporates refinancing needs are steady in 2017-18. Their cash balances remain healthy, although declining following the issuance peak of 2014. A number of French corporates will try to secure their refinancing needs ahead of the upcoming French national elections in May 2017 to avoid potential periods of volatility and uncertainty.

Large and frequent investment-grade issuers will continue to drive and dominate the market in 2017. For example, blue-chip issuers such as Sanofi (A1 stable) and Electricité de France (A3 stable) will continue to take advantage of attractive funding conditions.

Moody's expects yields to remain low for the next 12-18 months, as the ECB's corporate security purchase programme maintains European corporate bond spreads at low level within the investment-grade category in particular.

The overall credit quality of Moody's French corporate rated universe remains broadly stable although, quantitatively, pressure on operating margins continued in the last 12 months. Moody's expects French corporates to continue to adopt a cautious investment approach in the next 12 to 18 months, notably due to the subdued growth prospects of the French economy (GDP growth expected at 1.3% in 2016, decelerating to 1.2% in 2017).

French high-yield bond issuance will gradually recover in the next 12 to 18 months, after its H1 2016 swoon, on the back of improved market access, risk appetite post-Brexit and M&A activity. However the market will remain challenging for weaker credit quality issuers and private-equity sponsored transactions whilst first-time high-yield issuers will have to rely on windows of opportunity to refinance.

Loan issuance will be stable in the next 12-18 months. Bank lending remains attractive in France, surpassing bond issuance in 2016, reflecting the good and stable health of French banks in general and difficult bond market conditions for small and low-rated issuers. Bank disintermediation will continue to unfold in France although at a slower pace than in recent years, as bank lending regains traction as a result of attractive interest rate conditions and some periods of financial market volatility.

In 2017, French covenant protection will continue to outperform the rest of Europe with repeat issuers unlikely to materially renegotiate their covenants, unless there is a commercial requirement to do so. This trend is mainly due to limited issuance volumes than actual structural improvements.

Subscribers can access this report via this link: https://www.moodys.com/research/--PBC_1041871

NOTE TO JOURNALISTS ONLY: For more information, please call one of our global press information hotlines: London +44-20-7772-5456, New York +1-212-553-0376, Tokyo +813-5408-4110, Hong Kong +852-3758-1350, Sydney +61-2-9270-8141, Mexico City 001-888-779-5833, São Paulo 0800-891-2518, or Buenos Aires 0800-666-3506. You can also email us at mediarelations@moodys.com or visit our web site at www.moodys.com.

This publication does not announce a credit rating action. For any credit ratings referenced in this publication, please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for the most updated credit rating action information and rating history.

Guillaume Leglise
Analyst
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's France SAS
96 Boulevard Haussmann
Paris 75008
France
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Yasmina Serghini
Associate Managing Director
Corporate Finance Group
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Releasing Office:
Moody's France SAS
96 Boulevard Haussmann
Paris 75008
France
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

No Related Data.
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