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Global Credit Research - 29 Mar 2011
New York, March 29, 2011 -- In a new report, Moody's Investors Service says that this
month's triple disaster of earthquake, tsunami, and
nuclear crisis in northeastern Japan has negative credit implications
for Japan's rated, heavy-equipment manufacturers,
which have each experienced some degree of physical damage to manufacturing
Shinsuke Tanimoto, a Moody's senior vice president in Tokyo,
says, "Even after the firms repair the damage, lingering
disruptions in supply chains, problems in logistics, and inefficiencies
created by power shortages and rolling blackouts will constrain a return
to normal operating levels."
Tanimoto adds, "Among our four rated issuers, Kawasaki
Heavy and Hitachi Construction are more vulnerable than Sumitomo Heavy
and Komatsu." He explains, "Before the earthquake,
Kawasaki's rating was already under downward pressure from weak
operating results,, and some of Hitachi's core plants
were in the worst-hit areas."
"By contrast," Tanimoto says, "Despite suspended
production at four damaged plants, Komatsu benefits from a greater
degree of geographic diversification than its peers and has stronger financial
Tanimoto continues, "Meanwhile, Sumitomo Heavy needs
to pare leverage from earlier acquisitions, which may now take longer
if the earthquake's aftermath weakens earnings and cash flow."
A contributor to the report, Michael Mulvaney, a managing
director for Moody's in New York, says, "We expect
issuers' earnings and cash flow to drop in the fourth quarter of
the current fiscal year, ending this month, and to remain
depressed at least through the first half of FY 2011."
He notes, "Loss of production due to plant closures since
the earthquake will weigh on fourth-quarter earnings for this fiscal
year, as will the initial costs of responding to the disaster.
Although Q4's profitability could be depressed, issuers should
still have earnings for full-year FY 2010 based on their performance
through the first eleven months of the fiscal year.
Mulvaney concludes on a positive note, saying, "Increased
demand for products from heavy-equipment manufacturers should resume
sooner than for other industries because of heavy equipment's use
in rebuilding areas damaged by the earthquake and tsunami."
The report, entitled "Rebuilding Will Take Time for Japan's
Heavy-Equipment Companies", is available at www.moodys.com.
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MD - Corporate Finance
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service
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Moody's Japan K.K.
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Moody's: Japan Quake Hurts Japanese Heavy Equipment in Near Term
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