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Rating Action:

Moody's assigns Ba1 rating to Alcoa Nederland's new senior unsecured notes

08 Jul 2020

New York, July 08, 2020 -- Moody's Investors Service, ("Moody's") assigned a Ba1 rating to Alcoa Nederland Holding B.V.'s (ANHBV) new senior unsecured notes, guaranteed by Alcoa Corporation (Alcoa) and restricted subsidiaries. All other ratings, including the Speculative Grade Liquidity Rating remain unchanged.

"Although the increase in gross debt will contribute to a slightly more elevated leverage position, Alcoa will continue to exhibit excellent liquidity and strong cash balances relative to requirements" said Carol Cowan, Moody's Senior Vice President and lead analyst for Alcoa.

Assignments:

..Issuer: Alcoa Nederland Holding B.V.

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Assigned Ba1 (LGD4)

RATINGS RATIONALE

The Ba1 CFR at ANHBV considers its parent's (Alcoa) position as a leading producer of bauxite, alumina and aluminum (including cast products), geographical and aluminum product diversity, and operational quality. From a business profile perspective, Alcoa is well positioned within its products and markets served. Additionally, the company has a good cost production profile, driven by continued refocusing of its refining and smelting system and idling/closure of higher cost facilities.

However, although Alcoa has 3rd party sales in both its bauxite and alumina segments, the CFR considers the company's exposure to essentially a single metal commodity-- aluminum- as the demand for bauxite and alumina is directly correlated to the demand for aluminum. Additionally, the alumina and aluminum markets exhibit volatility driven by global growth expectations and industrial production levels. Further considerations include industry overcapacity, particularly given the increase in Chinese smelting capacity, which offsets the positive impact of supply curtailments and closures by other producers, supply/demand imbalances, and market sentiment. Prior to the outbreak of the coronavirus, the bauxite, alumina and aluminum markets were expected to be in surplus in 2020, and this surplus is expected to widen, particularly in aluminum.

Alcoa's EBITDA of $1.5 billion in 2019 was well below 2018 levels although we believe 2018 aluminum and alumina prices were over inflated due to supply issues for alumina and aluminum as well as the impact of Section 232 tariffs imposed in the US in 2018 and sanctions against UC RUSAL (Rusal). Consequently, we do not view 2018 as a reasonable comparative year.

Despite the lower EBITDA in 2019, Alcoa's leverage position, as measured by the debt/EBITDA ratio remained acceptable at 2.3x, providing a degree of cushion for deterioration in 2020 from the impact of the coronavirus on global economies and aluminum demand. Supply chain backup is anticipated on the lower automotive and aerospace build rates. Additionally, broader manufacturing and industrial markets will see demand deterioration and recovery is expected to be protracted across most industries. Should average aluminum prices in 2020 range between approximately $1,500/MT and $1,600/MT we estimate that leverage, as measured by the debt/EBITDA ratio (including Moody's standard adjustments and the increase in debt) would range between 3.1x and 2.8x. Although aluminum prices have rallied recently (from a low of around $1,410/MT in early April to currently around $1,580/MT) from improving economic growth in China as well as improving sentiment, given the global demand weakness, we do not expect much further upward momentum, absent unexpected events.

The stable outlook incorporates Alcoa's solid liquidity position at March 31, 2020 and anticipates that the company will remain focused on its cash generation and levers it has to minimize cash burn. Additionally, the company evidenced moderate leverage relative to its CFR of 2.2x at March 31, 2020 providing some cushion for deterioration in performance given the challenging market conditions and weakening in aluminum and alumina prices due to the coronavirus outbreak, the duration of which is uncertain. While weaker alumina prices relative to 2019 will impact performance in this segment, such will benefit performance in the smelting segment. Additionally, lower fuel input costs, electricity costs and benefits from deprecating currencies in countries where Alcoa operates will provide some mitigation although reduced hydro sales in Brazil will negate smelter power cost savings.

The SGL-1 speculative grade liquidity rating acknowledges the company's solid liquidity as evidenced by its cash position of $829 million at March 31, 2020 and its $1.5 billion secured revolving credit facility (RCF -unrated) at Alcoa Nederland, guaranteed by Alcoa and maturing in November 2023. Alcoa's 2nd quarter preliminary results indicate that cash at June 30, 2020 had increased to more than $950 million on working capital management and other actions that contributed to improved costs.

The RCF is secured by substantially all assets. The RCF was amended in April 2020 to provide that for the 4 quarters from April 1, 2020 the consolidated debt/EBITDA covenant shall not exceed 3x during the amendment period and otherwise 2.5x. The Consolidated EBITDA/interest covenant requirement remained at no less than 5x. At March 31, 2020 the borrowing capacity to remain in compliance with the consolidated debt/EBITDA covenant was $1.43 billion. In June 2020 the RCF was further amended to adjust the calculations for cash interest expense and total indebtedness for the 4 consecutive quarters from June 2020 through June 2021. This amendment allows the netting of proceeds from senior note offerings to year-end December 31, 2020; this can be extended through each of the March 2021 and June 2021 quarters however post December 31, 2020, availability under the RCF would reduce by 1/3 of the net proceeds from any such debt issuance.

The company has taken a number of actions to conserve liquidity including the deferral of funding of the pension plan to January 2021 ($220 million) reduction in capital expenditures to $375 million and other cost saving measures.

Alcoa's consolidated subsidiary, Alcoa of Australia Limited (AofA part of the AWAC joint venture between Alcoa -- 60% and Alumina Limited -- 40%) has received a notice from the Australian Taxation Office (ATO) of additional income taxes due in the amount of $147 million (A$214 million) excluding interest or other penalties. In accordance with ATO dispute practices, AofA will pay 50% or roughly $74 million of the assessed additional tax amount in the third quarter of 2020. This can be comfortably accommodated within the overall liquidity profile.

There are no material maturities until the revolver expires in November 2023.

The Ba1 senior unsecured debt rating, at the same level as the CFR, reflects the preponderance of unsecured debt in the capital structure, given the level of unsecured notes and unfunded pension obligations relative to the $1.5 billion secured revolving credit facility.

The rapid spread of the coronavirus outbreak, deteriorating global economic outlook, low oil prices, and high asset price volatility have created an unprecedented credit shock across a range of sectors and regions. We regard the coronavirus outbreak as a social risk under our ESG framework, given the substantial implications for public health and safety.

As a primary aluminum producer, Alcoa faces numerous environmental risks across the totality of its operations with regulations varying significantly from country to country and region to region. Environmental considerations are not a factor in Alcoa's CFR.

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

Given the volatility in the commodities in which Alcoa participates and potential for wide swings in performance, further upward rating movement could be limited. Additionally, upward rating movement to investment grade is constrained by the secured nature of the bank revolving credit facility. However, ratings could be upgraded should Alcoa be able to sustain an EBIT margin of at least 17.5%, EBIT/interest of at least 7x, and debt/EBITDA of no more than 2x. Continued discipline in its capital allocation strategy and financial policy would also be a consideration.

The ratings could be downgraded should EBIT/interest be sustained below 4.5x, EBIT margins be less than 8%, leverage exceed and be sustained above 2.75x. as the impact of the current difficult economic conditions ease into 2021. Greater negative free cash flow than expected and liquidity contraction would also be a downgrade consideration.

Alcoa Nederland is a wholly owned subsidiary of Alcoa Corporation. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, Alcoa holds the bauxite, alumina, aluminum, cast products and energy business as well as the rolling operations in Warrick, Indiana. Alcoa's bauxite and alumina business is conducted through its AWAC joint venture with Alumina Ltd (60% Alcoa/40% Alumina Limited). Revenues for the twelve months ended March 31, 2020 were $10.1 billion.

The principal methodology used in this rating was Mining published in September 2018 and available at https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_1089739. Alternatively, please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

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 at: https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_79004.

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 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.

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 www.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://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_1133569.

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 www.moodys.com.

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.

Carol Cowan
Senior Vice President
Corporate Finance Group
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

Glenn B. Eckert
Associate Managing Director
Corporate Finance Group
JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
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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