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Announcement:

Moody's changes NWR's outlook to positive and confirms Ba3 and B3 debt ratings

28 Feb 2011

Approximately EUR768 million worth of rated debt affected

Milan, February 28, 2011 -- Moody's Investors Service has today changed the outlook to positive on New World Resources N.V.'s ("NWR") corporate family rating (CFR) and probability-of-default rating (PDR) of B1. At the same time the rating agency confirmed the Ba3 LGD3 (32%) senior secured rating on its EUR500 million worth of notes due in 2018; and the company's B3 LGD5 (87%) rating on its EUR268 million worth of notes due in 2015.

"The positive outlook reflects the strong improvement in company's operating performances during the later part of 2010, thanks to improving market conditions, and Moody's view that the company has rebuilt part of its financial flexibility that it lost during the economic crises", says Paolo Leschiutta, a Moody's Vice President-Senior Analyst and lead analyst for NWR. "The outlook reflects also Moody's expectation that solid cash generation will allow the group to maintain relatively strong credit metrics going forward", adds Mr Leschiutta. The confirmation of NWR's debt ratings follow the cancellation of NWR public tender offer to acquire 100% of Lubelski Wegiel Bogdanka S.A. (Bogdanka) for a total cash consideration of EUR857 million and the signing of a new EUR 100 million super priority bank facility, earlier this month.

On 24 February NWR reported revenues of approximately EUR 1.6 billion and EBITDA of EUR 464 million for the FY ending December 2010, up 42% and 160% respectively from 2009. These results were achieved thanks to a strong recovery in demand and prices for both coking coal and coke during 2010 on the back of the recovery experienced by the steel industry in Central Europe. On a preliminary basis as at December 2010, NWR reported a financial leverage, measured as debt to EBITDA as adjusted by Moody's for operating leases and pension liabilities, of 1.8x (on a preliminary basis), reducing from 6.5x a year earlier. Moody's notes how 2009 key financial metrics were affected by the difficulties experienced by the company during the year given the sharp contraction in steel manufacturing.

Going forward, Moody's would expect the company's key credit metrics to marginally deteriorate (compare to those achieved during 2010) as NWR is expected to invest in developing its Debiensko project which, however, should provide with significant amount of additional reserves to the company. The ratings could be upgraded if NWR demonstrates its ability to weather potential cyclicality in the market and sustain a robust financial profile, with financial leverage below 3x and positive free cash flow generation (in accordance with Moody's definition - i.e. after dividends) on an ongoing basis. On the other hand, negative pressure on the rating could arise following deterioration in market conditions or in the liquidity profile of the company or in the case of large debt funded acquisitions. Ratings could also be downgraded if the company fails to generate positive free cash flow (after dividend payment) on an ongoing basis and/or if financial leverage had to increase above 4x for a prolonged period of time.

The B1 CFR reflects (i) NWR's strategic position as a major player in its sector in Central Europe; (ii) the prospects for increasing access to coal reserves; (iii) the progress made in improving operating efficiency through the modernisation programme and (iv) the relatively strong cash generation and sound liquidity profile. However, these positive credit considerations are offset by: (i) the ongoing market volatility; (ii) NWR's significant operating risks, given the depth of its mines; and (iii) the high level of the company's customer and business concentration. The ratings are supported as well by an adequate liquidity profile and the company's conservative financial policy which compensate the potential for future acquisitions.

Moody's previous rating action on NWR was implemented on 6 October 2010, when the rating agency affirmed the company's B1 CFR and PDR. Concurrently, the rating agency placed under review with direction uncertain (i) the Ba3 senior secured rating on NWR's EUR500 million worth of notes due in 2018; and (ii) the B3 rating on the company's EUR268 million worth of notes due in 2015.

The principal methodology used in rating NWR was Moody's "Global Mining Industry Rating Methodology", published May 2009.

Headquartered in the Netherlands, New World Resources N.V. (NWR) is the largest hard coal mining group in the Czech Republic and operates through its main subsidiary OKD, a.s. The company reported revenues of EUR1.6 billion and EBITDA of EUR464 million during FYE December 2010. The company exploits the Upper Silesian basin in the north-eastern part of the Czech Republic and is expanding its activity in Poland.

Milan
Paolo Leschiutta
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Italia S.r.l
Telephone:+39-02-9148-1100

Paris
Eric de Bodard
MD - Corporate Finance
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's France SAS
JOURNALISTS: 44 20 7772 5456
SUBSCRIBERS: 44 20 7772 5454

Moody's Italia S.r.l
Corso di Porta Romana 68
Milan 20122
Italy
Telephone:+39-02-9148-1100

Moody's changes NWR's outlook to positive and confirms Ba3 and B3 debt ratings
No Related Data.
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