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Rating Action:

Moody's downgrades Nucor's sr. unsecured ratings to Baa1; outlook stable

19 Jul 2013

Approximately $3.3 billion of debt downgraded

New York, July 19, 2013 -- Moody's Investors Service downgraded Nucor's senior unsecured ratings, including the revenue bond ratings, to Baa1 from A3. The short-term Prime-2 and VMIG-2 ratings were affirmed. The outlook is stable.

Downgrades:

..Issuer: Berkeley (County of) SC

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Sep 1, 2025, Downgraded to Baa1 from A3

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Mar 1, 2029, Downgraded to Baa1 from A3

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Apr 1, 2030, Downgraded to Baa1 from A3

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Apr 1, 2031, Downgraded to Baa1 from A3

..Issuer: Blytheville (City of) AR

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jun 1, 2028, Downgraded to Baa1 from A3

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jan 2, 2033, Downgraded to Baa1 from A3

..Issuer: Box Elder (County of) UT

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Apr 1, 2028, Downgraded to Baa1 from A3

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds May 15, 2022, Downgraded to Baa1 from A3

..Issuer: Bucks County Industrial Development Auth., PA

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jul 1, 2015, Downgraded to Baa1 from A3

..Issuer: Darlington (County of) SC

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Aug 1, 2029, Downgraded to Baa1 from A3

..Issuer: Decatur Industrial Development Board, AL

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Aug 1, 2036, Downgraded to Baa1 from A3

..Issuer: Evendale (Village of) OH

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Sep 1, 2015, Downgraded to Baa1 from A3

..Issuer: Hertford Conty of Ind Fac & Pol Ctrl Fin Aut

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Nov 1, 2033, Downgraded to Baa1 from A3

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Nov 1, 2033, Downgraded to Baa1 from A3

..Issuer: Jewett Economic Development Corporation

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Aug 1, 2038, Downgraded to Baa1 from A3

..Issuer: Memphis-Shelby Cnty Ind. Dvlpmt Board, TN

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Sep 1, 2037, Downgraded to Baa1 from A3

..Issuer: Nucor Corporation

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture Dec 1, 2017, Downgraded to Baa1 from A3

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture Dec 1, 2037, Downgraded to Baa1 from A3

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture Jun 1, 2018, Downgraded to Baa1 from A3

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture Sep 15, 2022, Downgraded to Baa1 from A3

..Issuer: St. James (Parish of) LA

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Nov 1, 2040, Downgraded to Baa1 from A3

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Nov 1, 2040, Downgraded to Baa1 from A3

..Issuer: Stanton (County of) NE

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Nov 1, 2026, Downgraded to Baa1 from A3

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jun 1, 2028, Downgraded to Baa1 from A3

..Issuer: Tuscaloosa County Industrial Dev Auth, AL

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Sep 1, 2020, Downgraded to Baa1 from A3

Outlook Actions:

..Issuer: Nucor Corporation

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Negative

Affirmations:

..Issuer: Berkeley (County of) SC

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Sep 1, 2025, Affirmed VMIG 2

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Mar 1, 2029, Affirmed VMIG 2

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Apr 1, 2030, Affirmed VMIG 2

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Apr 1, 2031, Affirmed VMIG 2

..Issuer: Blytheville (City of) AR

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jan 2, 2033, Affirmed P-2

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jun 1, 2028, Affirmed VMIG 2

..Issuer: Box Elder (County of) UT

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Apr 1, 2028, Affirmed P-2

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds May 15, 2022, Affirmed P-2

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Oct 1, 2014, Affirmed VMIG 2

..Issuer: Bucks County Industrial Development Auth., PA

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jul 1, 2015, Affirmed P-2

..Issuer: Darlington (County of) SC

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Aug 1, 2029, Affirmed P-2

..Issuer: Decatur Industrial Development Board, AL

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Aug 1, 2036, Affirmed P-2

..Issuer: Evendale (Village of) OH

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Sep 1, 2015, Affirmed P-2

..Issuer: Hertford Conty of Ind Fac & Pol Ctrl Fin Aut

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Nov 1, 2033, Affirmed P-2

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Nov 1, 2033, Affirmed P-2

..Issuer: Jewett Economic Development Corporation

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Aug 1, 2038, Affirmed P-2

..Issuer: Memphis-Shelby Cnty Ind. Dvlpmt Board, TN

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Sep 1, 2037, Affirmed P-2

..Issuer: Nucor Corporation

....Senior Unsecured Commercial Paper, Affirmed P-2

..Issuer: St. James (Parish of) LA

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Nov 1, 2040, Affirmed P-2

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Nov 1, 2040, Affirmed P-2

..Issuer: Stanton (County of) NE

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Nov 1, 2026, Affirmed VMIG 2

....Senior Unsecured Revenue Bonds Jun 1, 2028, Affirmed VMIG 2

RATINGS RATIONALE

The downgrade to Baa1 incorporates the slow improvement in Nucor's debt protection and leverage metrics and our expectation that the degree of improvement necessary to support a higher rating will only occur over a more protracted time frame than previously envisioned. Debt/EBITDA for the twelve months through June 30, 2013 continues in the 2.6x range, while the EBIT/interest ratio has evidenced tightening to around 5.9x. We do not see market dynamics as allowing for meaningful improvement in these metrics but don't anticipate material further deterioration. Performance is expected to remain relatively flat to modestly down through the balance of 2013. The downgrade also considers the continued high capital expenditures -- indicated at $1.1 billion for 2013 -- which include funds for completing the new DRI plant in Louisiana, the SBQ expansion, and funding for the natural gas drilling program the company has entered into with Encana Oil & Gas. While these strategic investments are expected to benefit the company's cost profile over the medium to longer term, given the current earnings profile, this level of expenditures in 2013 is expected to result in negative free cash flow. This however can be accommodated within Nucor's existing liquidity profile.

Fundamentals in the steel industry in 2013 continue to face headwinds and performance trends indicate a year that will at best be comparable to 2012 but more likely will be somewhat weaker. Nucor is not immune to these trends. Volumes, prices, and utilization rates through the first half of 2013 have all trended below comparable levels in 2012. Although the automotive and energy industries are exhibiting strong demand ,continued weakness in the commercial construction industry, an important end market for Nucor's performance, and imports continue to limit the level of upside improvement that can be achieved. In addition, while raw material input costs have decreased year-on-year, such has not been at a level to offset the degree of price decline. In addition, raw material prices are expected to remain volatile.

Despite the challenges facing the company, the rating acknowledges Nucor's broad footprint in the US, its diversified product mix, and leading or strong position in all markets served. Further, the electric arc furnace model and variable cost structure provides Nucor the flexibility to adjust production levels to demand changes more easily than integrated producers in the steel industry and contributes to a lower all in cost position. However, as Nucor moves up the value added chain of products offered, its cost position has evidenced an increase, which, we believe is not currently being captured in realized prices. Nucor's cost position should improve with the start-up of the Louisiana DRI facility in late 2013 and full operational performance in 2014.

While the company's sales to the automotive and general manufacturing industry have provided support to shipments and earnings, the construction market remains a key end market for Nucor. Although this segment has evidenced improving performance in the second quarter of 2013, it is coming off a deep decline and the slow recovery continues to limit the degree of earnings improvement that can be achieved on a consolidated basis. EBITDA and earnings are expected to continue at less than optimum levels through the balance of 2013 and into 2014.

The stable outlook reflects our expectation that the continued downward pressure on earnings has flattened and that the balance of 2013 will evidence relatively flat metrics to those evidenced in the first half of the year. We expect that performance will show improvement, albeit gradual, over the next twelve to eighteen months.

Given the expectations for only gradual improvement in earnings and cash flow generation, and ongoing investment requirements to support the drilling joint venture objectives, upward rating movement over the next twelve to eighteen months is unlikely. A rating upgrade could be possible should Nucor be able to evidence the ability to sustain EBIT margins of at least 13% and debt/EBITDA less than 2x, as well as be free cash flow generative.

The rating could come under pressure for a downgrade should EBIT margins trend at less than 10% and leverage, as measured by the debt/EBITDA ratio breach 3x on a sustainable basis.

The principal methodology used in this rating was the Global Steel Industry Methodology published in October 2012. Please see the Credit Policy page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

Headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, Nucor Corporation ("Nucor") is a leading domestic producer of carbon and alloy steel and steel products including bar, beam, sheet, plate, joists, and joist girders. Through its subsidiary, David J. Joseph Company (DJJ), Nucor is a leading scrap company, brokering and processing ferrous and nonferrous scrap metals among other products. For the twelve months ending June 30, 2013, Nucor generated revenues of $18.5 billion.

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.

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.

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 Nucor's sr. unsecured ratings to Baa1; outlook stable
No Related Data.
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