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Announcement:

Moody's changes CEVA's outlook to stable from negative (CFR Caa1)

07 Dec 2010

London, 07 December 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service has today changed the outlook on the ratings of CEVA Group plc ("CEVA") to stable from negative. This was prompted by Moody's view of improving market conditions in the broader logistics industry, the company's recent EBITDA growth and strengthened liquidity through the signing of an ABL agreement.

"The change in outlook to stable from negative reflects Moody's expectation that improved market conditions are likely to result in key credit metrics, particularly financial leverage, reducing over the medium term", says Douglas Crawford, Moody's lead analyst for CEVA.

The stable outlook is supported by CEVA's adequate liquidity position. At 30 September 2010 CEVA reported EUR201 million cash on balance sheet and ample covenant headroom under its senior secured leverage ratio covenant. Additionally, in November, liquidity was further improved through certain subsidiaries of the company entering into an ABL facility that currently stands at USD250 million and matures in November 2015.

According to the company's non-audited statements, CEVA reported a 32% year-on-year improvement in sales for the three months ended 30 September 2010 driven by an increase in freight volumes in all regions but most notably in the Americas and Asia Pacific Region. Reported EBITDA also increased 26% year-on-year but margins fell 30 bps.

Moody's acknowledges the company's success in growing the business, although concerns remain that margins are currently thin and cash flow generation is weak. Our ratings had also previously focussed on the refinancing risk of 2012 and particularly 2013 debt maturities. However, the company is currently addressing this and has now announced that it is seeking an amendment to its existing senior secured credit facilities to extend its senior secured term loans from November 2013 to August 2016 and its revolving facility from November 2012 to November 2015.

Moody's believes the ratings could potentially be upgraded if there is improvement in the company's EBITDA generation leading to financial leverage trending towards 7x and EBITA interest cover above 1x. Any upgrade would also anticipate sustained improvements in the liquidity profile of the group (through sound cash flow generation) and include an assessment of market conditions. A rating downgrade could occur as a result of a deterioration in one, or a combination of the following: (i) market conditions; (ii) CEVA's liquidity position; (iii) the group's operating margins; (iv) its cash flow generation; and (v) Moody's perception of the potential recovery rate for debt holders in the event of a default.

Moody's assigned CEVA's ratings by evaluating factors that the rating agency believes are relevant to the credit profile of the issuer, such as: (i) the business risk and competitive position of CEVA; (ii) the capital structure and financial risk profile of the company; (iii) the projected performance of the company over the short to medium term; and (iv) management's track record and tolerance for risk. Having compared CEVA's attributes with those of other issuers both within and outside of its core industry, Moody's believes the company's ratings to be comparable to those of other issuers of similar credit risk. The principal methodology used in this rating was Loss Given Default for Speculative-Grade Non-Financial Companies in the U.S., Canada and EMEA published in June 2009.

Moody's previous rating action on CEVA was implemented on 10 March 2010, when the rating agency assigned a provisional (P)Caa1 rating to the proposed junior priority senior secured notes, due in 2018.

CEVA Group plc, based in the Netherlands, is the fourth-largest integrated logistics provider in the world in terms of revenues (EUR 6.5 billion as at 30 September 2010 on a last-12-months (LTM) basis). CEVA's activities include the former Contract Logistics (CL) business acquired from TNT N.V. during 2006 and the Freight Management (FM) business of EGL, a US-based company that the group acquired in August 2007. Apollo, a US-based equity fund, and its affiliates are the largest shareholders of CEVA, holding approximately 92% of shares as at Q3 2010.

London
Douglas Crawford
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

London
Chetan Modi
Senior Vice President
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's Investors Service Ltd.
One Canada Square
Canary Wharf
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JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's changes CEVA's outlook to stable from negative (CFR Caa1)
No Related Data.
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