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Rating Action:

Moody's assigns B2 instrument rating to Aston Martin Lagonda's $190 million notes

04 Jun 2019

London, 04 June 2019 -- Moody's Investors Service has today assigned a B2 instrument rating to the $190 million senior secured notes due 2022 that Aston Martin Capital Holdings Limited (Aston Martin Lagonda) issued in April 2019.

RATINGS RATIONALE

The B2 instrument rating on the new notes is in line with the rating on the existing notes issued by the financing subsidiary Aston Martin Capital Holdings Limited, because the terms mirror the terms of the existing notes. The instrument rating reflects the position within the capital structure of parent Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings plc as the major portion of debt funding, subordinated to the revolving credit facility, but with significant subsidiary guarantor coverage.

The ratings of Aston Martin Capital Holdings Limited and parent Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings plc (company) more broadly continue to reflect the company's continued progress in executing its strategy, resulting in good volume, revenue and EBITDA growth and Moody's expectation that the company will likely to continue to visibly improve these metrics in 2019 and 2020. It also reflects the (1) strong brand name and pricing position in the luxury cars segment; (2) good geographic diversification; (3) degree of flexibility in its cost structure; (4) continued model renewals and launches expected in the next few years given its flexible production through a common architecture and (5) technical partnership with Daimler AG (A2 stable), which gives the company access to high-performance powertrain technologies and competitive e/e (electric/electronic) architecture.

At the same time, the ratings also remain weakly positioned given high Moody's-adjusted debt/EBITDA, at 24.1x, and continued significantly negative free cash flow after capex and interest for 2018. Moody's also expects investment levels to remain high, although with decreasing intensity and directionally improving cash flow, but this is reliant on achieving continued substantial growth in 2019 and 2020 and hence subject to execution risk and the success of new launches such as the DBX in 2020 and Aston Martin Valkyrie. Additionally, the ratings are constrained by the company's (1) limited financial strength compared to some direct peers that belong to larger European car manufacturers; (2) efforts to service a broad range of GT, luxury and hypercar segments and price points despite its comparably small scale; (3) exposure to foreign exchange risk given its fixed cost base in the UK compared to a sizeable share of revenue generated from exports to Europe, the US and Asia though mitigated by hedging strategies and sourcing outside of the UK; and (4) operational risks related to the production of all models in two plants in the UK, which is also exposing the company to Brexit-related risk and some uncertainty from potential US tariffs.

WHAT COULD CHANGE THE RATING UP/DOWN

An upgrade of the ratings is unlikely in the near term considering the execution of the Second Century Plan together with the requirement to meet reduced emission targets and invest in alternative fuel technologies requiring significant capex over the next couple of years limiting its ability to generate more meaningful free cash flows. However, Moody's-adjusted debt/EBITDA improving to below 5.0x on a sustained basis, Moody's-adjusted EBITA margin turning positive into the high single-digit percentage range on a sustainable basis and Moody's-adjusted FCF/debt in high single-digits could result in positive pressure.

Negative pressure on the ratings could come from a failure to improve adjusted leverage to below 6.0x by 2020, profitability of below 7% adjusted EBITA margin by 2020, inability to substantially reduce the net cash outflows or evidence of execution issues in its growth strategy. A significant deterioration in the liquidity profile shown in very little to no headroom to cover cash needs over a period of at least 12 months would also pressure the ratings.

The principal methodology used in this rating was Automobile Manufacturer Industry published in June 2017. Please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

Based in Gaydon, UK, Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings plc is a car manufacturer focused on the high luxury sports car segment. The company generated revenue of GBP1.1 billion in 2018 from the sale of 6,438 cars. The company is a UK-listed business with a market capitalization of ca. GBP2.4 billion as of 28 March 2019. As of December 2018, its major shareholders include the Adeem/Primewagon Controlling Shareholder Group, including a subsidiary of EFAD Group and companies controlled by Mr. Najeeb Al Humaidhi and Mr. Razam Al-Roumi, with 36.05% and the Investindustrial Controlling Shareholder Group, an Italian private equity firm, with 30.97%. Daimler AG has also a 4.18% stake.

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.

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.

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.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

Tobias Wagner, CFA
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

Peter Firth
Associate Managing Director
Corporate Finance Group
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

Releasing Office:
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
London E14 5FA
United Kingdom
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
Client Service: 44 20 7772 5454

No Related Data.
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