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Rating Action:

Moody's downgrades Barrick's sr. unsec ratings to Baa2; outlook negative

24 Apr 2013

Approximately $11 billion of debt affected

New York, April 24, 2013 -- Moody's Investors Service downgraded to Baa2 from Baa1 the senior unsecured ratings of Barrick Gold Corporation (Barrick) and all rated subsidiary issuers guaranteed by Barrick. The outlook is negative. This concludes the review for downgrade initiated on April 17, 2013.

Downgrades:

..Issuer: Barrick (PD) Australia Finance Pty Ltd

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture Oct 15, 2039, Downgraded to Baa2 from Baa1

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture Jan 15, 2020, Downgraded to Baa2 from Baa1

..Issuer: Barrick Gold Corporation

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture Nov 15, 2034, Downgraded to Baa2 from Baa1

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture Apr 1, 2019, Downgraded to Baa2 from Baa1

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture May 30, 2014, Downgraded to Baa2 from Baa1

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture May 30, 2016, Downgraded to Baa2 from Baa1

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture Apr 1, 2022, Downgraded to Baa2 from Baa1

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture Apr 1, 2042, Downgraded to Baa2 from Baa1

..Issuer: Barrick Gold Finance Company

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture Nov 15, 2034, Downgraded to Baa2 from Baa1

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture Nov 15, 2014, Downgraded to Baa2 from Baa1

..Issuer: Barrick Gold Financeco LLC

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture Sep 15, 2013, Downgraded to Baa2 from Baa1

..Issuer: Barrick International Bank Corp.

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture Oct 15, 2036, Downgraded to Baa2 from Baa1

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture Oct 15, 2016, Downgraded to Baa2 from Baa1

..Issuer: Barrick North America Finance LLC

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture Sep 15, 2038, Downgraded to Baa2 from Baa1

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture Sep 15, 2018, Downgraded to Baa2 from Baa1

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture May 30, 2021, Downgraded to Baa2 from Baa1

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture May 30, 2041, Downgraded to Baa2 from Baa1

..Issuer: Placer Dome Inc.

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture Jun 15, 2015, Downgraded to Baa2 from Baa1

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture Mar 1, 2033, Downgraded to Baa2 from Baa1

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture Oct 15, 2035, Downgraded to Baa2 from Baa1

Outlook Actions:

..Issuer: Barrick (PD) Australia Finance Pty Ltd

....Outlook, Changed To Negative From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Barrick Gold Corporation

....Outlook, Changed To Negative From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Barrick Gold Finance Company

....Outlook, Changed To Negative From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Barrick Gold Financeco LLC

....Outlook, Changed To Negative From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Barrick International Bank Corp.

....Outlook, Changed To Negative From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Barrick North America Finance LLC

....Outlook, Changed To Negative From Rating Under Review

..Issuer: Placer Dome Inc.

....Outlook, Changed To Negative From Rating Under Review

The downgrade reflects the challenges facing the company following the Chilean government's injunction to halt construction activity, on the Chilean side of the Pascua Lama mine development, due to local community claims on environmental issues, and the uncertainty as to when and how this might be resolved and the further costs that might be incurred. This project, which has seen capital costs increase substantially to an estimated $8 billion to $8.5 billion range, was anticipated to begin production in the back half of 2014 and contribute to an improved production profile and cost basis. In addition, other production anticipated to come on stream and contribute to an improved cost profile, such as the Jabal Sayid copper mine in Saudi Arabia has also been delayed due to government mandated issues on safety and security standards and production from this mine has now been pushed into an estimated start-up time of 2014.

Given the various issues facing Barrick's currently operating mines due to normal mine sequencing and ore grade transitions, not atypical to the mining process, in 2013 and we expect into 2014, and the relatively flat production profiles to 2012 levels and continued pressure on cash costs, we anticipate that Barrick will have higher negative free cash flow and additional funding requirements beyond what was previously expected. As a consequence, the timing by which the company can delever is extended beyond the time frame we would view appropriate for a Baa1 rating, particularly given volatility in gold and copper prices. Should gold prices reach averages of $1,200/oz to $1,300/oz, we estimate debt/EBITDA could approach levels of around 5x over the next twelve to eighteen months (absent Barrick taking actions to modify their operating profile and or capital expenditures, as they have in the past). In addition, the downgrade reflects the fact that debt levels continue to be equal to about 100% of revenues and are likely to increase as a percentage of revenues in the medium term. The volatility in gold and copper prices continues to be an important aspect of the rating analysis.

RATINGS RATIONALE

Barrick's Baa2 senior unsecured rating reflects the company's geographically diverse operating operations, major low cost mines that comprise a good proportion of production with low cash costs, and the scale and diversity of the overall operations. The company's substantive reserve profile is also considered in the rating. However, the rating considers metal price volatility, operating and development cost pressures, and contracting debt protection measurements as production flattens, costs increase, and capital expenditures remain high over the next two years, contributing to substantive levels of negative free cash flow.

The negative outlook reflects the weaker debt protection metrics and increased leverage profile, which could exceed our current expectations should gold and copper prices be more subdued than expected. In addition, the outlook incorporates the current level of uncertainty surrounding the Pascua Lama project and the potential for additional time delays and increases in capital costs, which would have a further adverse impact on the company's financial profile.

An upgrade is unlikely until such time as the issues surrounding Pascua Lama are resolved and the successful completion of this project is evidenced, and debt levels are reduced in absolute terms. Financial metrics that could favorably impact the rating would include a sustainable debt/EBITDA ratio of no more than 2x, EBIT/interest of at least 5.5x, (CFO less dividends)/debt of at least 30% and positive free cash flow.

The rating could be downgraded should debt/EBITDA be sustained at greater than 3.25x, EBIT/interest at less than 4.75x, or (CFO less dividends)/debt be less than 20%. Significant contraction in liquidity could also negatively impact the rating.

The principal methodology used in this rating was the Global Mining Industry Methodology published in May 2009. Please see the Credit Policy page on www.moodys.com for a copy of these methodologies.

Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, Barrick is the world's largest producer of gold and has positions in copper as well. In 2012, the company produced approximately 7.4 million ounces of gold and 468 million pounds of copper. The company's operating mines, reserves, and projects are globally diversified. The company generated revenues of $14.5 billion in 2012, with realized gold prices per ounce of $1,669 and realized copper prices per pound of $3.57.

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 rating action on the support provider and in relation to each particular 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 rating action, and whose ratings may change as a result of this 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.

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
VP - Senior Credit Officer
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service, Inc.
250 Greenwich Street
New York, NY 10007
U.S.A.
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

Brian Oak
MD - Corporate Finance
Corporate Finance Group
JOURNALISTS: 212-553-0376
SUBSCRIBERS: 212-553-1653

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

Moody's downgrades Barrick's sr. unsec ratings to Baa2; outlook negative
No Related Data.
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