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Rating Action:

Moody's affirms Codelco's A3 ratings and upgrades BCA to baa3; outlook changed to stable

20 Sep 2022

New York, September 20, 2022 -- Moody's Investors Service ("Moody's") affirmed Corporacion Nacional del Cobre de Chile's ("Codelco") A3 senior unsecured ratings and upgraded the baseline credit assessment (BCA) to baa3 from ba1. The outlook was changed to stable from negative.

Upgrades:

..Issuer: Corporacion Nacional del Cobre de Chile

.... Baseline Credit Assessment, Upgraded to baa3 from ba1

Ratings Affirmed:

.Issuer: Corporacion Nacional del Cobre de Chile

..Senior Unsecured global notes due 2023: affirmed at A3

..Senior Unsecured global bonds due 2024: affirmed at A3

..Senior Unsecured global notes due 2025: affirmed at A3

..Senior Unsecured global bonds due 2027: affirmed at A3

..Senior Unsecured global notes due 2029: affirmed at A3

..Senior Unsecured global notes due 2030: affirmed at A3

..Senior Unsecured global notes due 2031: affirmed at A3

..Senior Unsecured global bonds due 2035: affirmed at A3

..Senior Unsecured global bonds due 2036: affirmed at A3

..Senior Unsecured euro medium term notes due 2039: affirmed at A3

..Senior Unsecured global bonds due 2042: affirmed at A3

..Senior Unsecured global notes due 2043: affirmed at A3

..Senior Unsecured global notes due 2044: affirmed at A3

..Senior Unsecured global bonds due 2047: affirmed at A3

..Senior Unsecured global notes due 2049: affirmed at A3

..Senior Unsecured global notes due 2050: affirmed at A3

..Senior Unsecured global notes due 2051: affirmed at A3

Outlook Actions:

.Issuer: Corporacion Nacional del Cobre de Chile

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Negative

RATINGS RATIONALE

The affirmation of the A3 senior unsecured ratings and the upgrade of the Baseline Credit Assessment (BCA) to baa3 from ba1 are supported by the strengthening of Codelco's standalone credit profile due to a better operating environment and enhanced liquidity position.

The A3 rating reflects Codelco's status as a government related issuer ("GRI") and is based upon the following inputs: (i) the company's BCA at baa3, a measure of its intrinsic risk regardless of its controlling entity; (ii) the Chilean Government's A2 bond rating; and (iii) Moody's assumptions of high support from the government of Chile and high dependence between Codelco and the government. The government's high level of support provides three notches of uplift to Codelco's BCA.

The baa3 BCA incorporates the company's position as the world's largest copper producer and the fourth  largest molybdenum producer and its substantial reserve base, as well as the large exposure to one single commodity (copper) for a large portion of its cash flows. The BCA also incorporates Codelco's need to maintain large capital spending to maintain production levels at a moment that the industry faces declining ore grades, rising costs and lower productivity. Codelco is currently investing in a number of so-called structural projects, which require capital spending of about $3 billion to $4 billion on an annual basis. In about 10 years, the structural projects will account for about 65% of Codelco's total annual copper production.

On September 15, the Government of Chile's long-term local and foreign currency issuer and senior unsecured ratings were downgraded to A2 from A1, driven by fiscal and economic trends that have gradually but persistently weakened Chile's credit profile, aligning it with that of A2-rated peers. Given the importance of Codelco to the mining industry in Chile (about 31% of total copper production in Chile in the 12 months ended in June 2022 and 8% mined copper globally in 2021) and the relevance of the mining industry to the country's economy, Moody's does not see changes in the willingness and ability of the government to provide extraordinary support to Codelco in case of need, as the fiscal position of the Government of Chile remains strong.  Moody's assumptions of high dependence and high support from the Government of Chile to Codelco have not changed.

Codelco has adequate liquidity to meet its financial obligations and capital spending requirements, with about $ 2.3 billion in cash at the end of June 2022. Medium-term refinancing risk is low, with cash covering debt maturities through 2026. Out of Codelco's total debt of $17.6 billion at the end of June 2022, about $15.9 billion corresponds to cross-border bonds, of which $2.8 billion will mature between 2022-2028. In the past couple of years, Codelco has raised debt to improve its liquidity cushion and pre-fund upcoming debt maturities – from 2019 through 2021, Codelco issued about $5.8 billion in cross-border bonds.

Liquidity has strengthened with Codelco's improved free cash flow in 2020 and 2021 as a consequence of stronger copper prices and lower capital expenditures. In 2022, higher capex had led to slightly negative free cash flow generation ($280 million in the twelve months ended June 2022). Moreover, in June 2022, the Chilean government announced that it would allow Codelco to retain 30% of its annual profit from 2021 to 2024 for reinvestment, thus reducing the need to raise debt to fund investments.

With the allowance for profit retention and Moody's expectation that copper prices will remain in the $3/lb to $4/lb range in the next 12 to 18 months, Codelco will be able to fund investments requirements with its own cash flows, without the need to raise incremental debt.

The stable rating outlook incorporates Moody's expectation of a gradual recovery in Codelco's operating performance in the next 12-18 months and maintenance of adequate liquidity, with continued access to debt capital markets. While copper price volatility is a risk in the near term, long-term fundamentals for copper remain positive, and Codelco's ability to continue to invest to maintain production volumes and control operating costs is key to sustaining its credit metrics over the next 12-18 months.

FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO AN UPGRADE OR DOWNGRADE OF THE RATINGS

Upward pressure on Codelco's rating or outlook could arise if the company is able to sustain its credit metrics at current levels, with strong cash flow and robust liquidity, and gradually reduce its debt levels. Codelco's ability to progress with structural projects and at least maintain the current copper production volumes are important considerations for a rating upgrade. Moody's could raise Codelco's BCA if its credit metrics improve, such that its leverage (Moody's-adjusted gross debt to EBITDA) remains below 2x, with interest coverage (Moody's-adjusted EBIT/Interest expense) maintained above 5.5x and Moody's-adjusted EBIT margins sustained above 20%. An upward rating movement would also be subject to the relative position of Chile's sovereign rating because of the importance of the sovereign's credit strength in terms of its ability to provide extraordinary support to the company.

Moody's could downgrade Codelco's rating or BCA if its earnings contract for a prolonged period, with an overall weakening in credit metrics and a marked deterioration in the company's liquidity, or Codelco's operating performance deteriorates, with declining production levels and higher costs. A lowering of the BCA could lead to a downgrade of Codelco's rating, while any indication of a decline in the level of support from the Government of Chile would also exert downward rating pressure. Quantitatively, Moody's  could downgrade Codelco's rating or outlook if its leverage (Moody's-adjusted gross debt to EBITDA) stays at 2.75x or above on a sustained basis, with interest coverage (Moody's-adjusted EBIT/interest expense) declining towards 4.5x or below and Moody's-adjusted EBIT margins trending towards 15% or below.

The methodologies used in these ratings were Mining published in October 2021 and available at https://ratings.moodys.com/api/rmc-documents/76085, and Government-Related Issuers Methodology published in February 2020 and available at https://ratings.moodys.com/api/rmc-documents/64864. Alternatively, please see the Rating Methodologies page on https://ratings.moodys.com for a copy of these methodologies.

Headquartered in Santiago, Chile, Corporacion Nacional del Cobre de Chile (Codelco) is 100% owned by the Chilean government and is the largest producer of copper globally, with an 8% share of global mined copper production in 2021 and 31% of total production in Chile for the 12 months that ended June 2022. The company is also one of the largest molybdenum producers globally, with a market share of around 8% in 2021. Codelco's operations include several world-class mines from a reserve, production capacity and cost perspective, as well as smelting and refining capabilities. In addition, Codelco owns 49% of the El Abra mining operations in Chile and is part of a joint venture with Mitsui & Co. Ltd (Mitsui, A3 stable), which owns a 29.5% interest in Anglo American Sur S.A. Codelco owns, through this joint venture, 20% of Anglo American Sur. Codelco's revenue for the 12 months that ended June 2022 was $19.7 billion.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

For further specification of Moody's key rating assumptions and sensitivity analysis, see the sections Methodology Assumptions and Sensitivity to Assumptions in the disclosure form. Moody's Rating Symbols and Definitions can be found on https://ratings.moodys.com/rating-definitions.

For ratings issued on a program, series, category/class of debt or security this announcement provides certain regulatory disclosures in relation to each rating of a subsequently issued bond or note of the same series, category/class of debt, security 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 issuer/deal page for the respective issuer on https://ratings.moodys.com.

For any affected securities or rated entities receiving direct credit support from the primary entity(ies) of this credit rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this credit rating action, the associated regulatory disclosures will be those of  the guarantor entity.  Exceptions to this approach exist for the following disclosures, if applicable to jurisdiction: Ancillary Services, Disclosure to rated entity, Disclosure from rated entity.

The ratings have been disclosed to the rated entity or its designated agent(s) and issued with no amendment resulting from that disclosure.

These ratings are solicited. Please refer to Moody's Policy for Designating and Assigning Unsolicited Credit Ratings available on its website https://ratings.moodys.com.

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

Moody's general principles for assessing environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks in our credit analysis can be found at https://ratings.moodys.com/documents/PBC_1288235.

The Global Scale Credit Rating on this Credit Rating Announcement was issued by one of Moody's affiliates outside the EU and is endorsed by Moody's Deutschland GmbH, An der Welle 5, Frankfurt am Main 60322, Germany, in accordance with Art.4 paragraph 3 of the Regulation (EC) No 1060/2009 on Credit Rating Agencies. Further information on the EU endorsement status and on the Moody's office that issued the credit rating is available on https://ratings.moodys.com.

The Global Scale Credit Rating on this Credit Rating Announcement was issued by one of Moody's affiliates outside the UK and is endorsed by Moody's Investors Service Limited, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5FA under the law applicable to credit rating agencies in the UK. Further information on the UK endorsement status and on the Moody's office that issued the credit rating is available on https://ratings.moodys.com.

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

Please see the issuer/deal page on https://ratings.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

Barbara Mattos, CFA
Senior Vice President
Corporate Finance Group
JOURNALISTS: 0 800 891 2518
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

Marcos Schmidt
Associate Managing Director
Corporate Finance Group
JOURNALISTS: 0 800 891 2518
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

No Related Data.
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