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Announcement:

Moody's: Repurchase of shares from NTT is Credit Negative for NTT DOCOMO but Credit Positive for NTT

 The document has been translated in other languages

08 Sep 2014

Tokyo, September 08, 2014 -- Moody's Japan K.K. says today that NTT DOCOMO INC's announcement that it has completed a share buyback for JPY307.7 billion is credit negative but will have no immediate impact on the company's Aa2/P-1 ratings and stable outlook.

NTT DOCOMO INC. announced on September 4th that it has completed the repurchase of a total of 181.53 million in stock through tender offering, of which 176.99 million shares were from parent Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corporation (NTT, Aa2 stable) for approximately JPY300 billion. This is the first part of a planned total amount of JPY500 billion approved by NTT DOCOMO's Board of Directors for the fiscal period -ending March 2015.

The move is credit negative for NTT DOCOMO in terms of materially reducing its cash on hand but does not impact the company's rating which benefits from a strong financial profile with low leverage, robust operating cash flow and excellent access to alternate liquidity, should it be required.

The company's cash and equivalent holdings have averaged around JPY500 billion at the end of each fiscal year for the past three years. Cash at the end of 1Q June 2014 was JPY358.7 billion but we project it will replenish back to around JPY180 billion by the end of the fiscal year ending March 2015 as a result of healthy operating cash flow from the company's operations that annually averages around JPY1.0 trillion assuming that the NTT DOCOMO completes the total amount of JPY500 billion approved share buyback.

Still, the ratings and outlook for NTT DOCOMO's debt remain unchanged given our assessment of a still strong liquidity position relative to the amount of short-term debt of JPY9.92 billion that is maturing within the coming 12 months, as well as strong access to alternate liquidity including funding by main banks.

Additionally, NTT DOCOMO's Aa2/P-1 ratings reflect very strong key financial metrics characterized by its very low leverage of debt/EBITDA of around 0.5x and strong RCF/debt coverage of around 136% at June-end 2014 - both financial metrics being consistent with its broad Aa-rating category.

At the same time, the transaction will save NTT DOCOMO approximately JPY10 billion in annual dividend payments on the shares bought back, thereby boosting its free cash flow.

On the reverse side, the transaction is credit positive for parent NTT as it will increase the company's cash on hand by the same amount of around JPY300 billion. However, there is no impact on NTT's consolidated cash on hand as the money will stay within the NTT group, which already includes the full consolidation of NTT DOCOMO's cash.

We expect that NTT DOCOMO will maintain sufficient liquidity in order to support its Aa2 rating level, through a sustained high level of cash flow generated from operations, and access to funds from its main banks as well as the capital markets to fully accommodate the company's near-term capital needs.

Moody's will continue to observe the magnitude and timing of further upstreaming of NTT DOCOMO's available cash to NTT and any potential for it to weaken the company's financial profile, especially to the extent any such upstreaming is funded by debt leading to a material weakening in the company's key financial and leverage metrics.

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.

Peggy Furusaka
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Japan K.K.
Atago Green Hills Mori Tower 20fl
2-5-1 Atago, Minato-ku
Tokyo 105-6220
Japan
JOURNALISTS: 813-5408-4110
SUBSCRIBERS: 813-5408-4100

Ian Lewis
Associate Managing Director
Corporate Finance Group
JOURNALISTS: 813-5408-4110
SUBSCRIBERS: 813-5408-4100

Releasing Office:
Moody's Japan K.K.
Atago Green Hills Mori Tower 20fl
2-5-1 Atago, Minato-ku
Tokyo 105-6220
Japan
JOURNALISTS: 813-5408-4110
SUBSCRIBERS: 813-5408-4100

Moody's: Repurchase of shares from NTT is Credit Negative for NTT DOCOMO but Credit Positive for NTT
No Related Data.
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