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Rating Action:

Moody's downgrades Xerox's CFR to Ba2; outlook stable

17 Feb 2022

New York, February 17, 2022 -- Moody's Investors Service ("Moody's") downgraded the Corporate Family Rating (CFR) of Xerox Holdings Corporation ("Xerox") to Ba2 from Ba1 and the Probability of Default Rating (PDR) to Ba2-PD from Ba1-PD driven by Moody's expectation that revenue growth in 2022 will remain challenged by supply chain disruptions and the slowdown in return to office trends. Additionally, Xerox's willingness to fund significant share buybacks in 4Q21 evidences aggressive financial policies in light of weak 4Q operating results, elevated debt to EBITDA (Moody's adjusted), and the company's decision to increase growth investments in 2022. As part of the rating actions, Moody's downgraded the senior unsecured credit facility and senior unsecured notes ratings to Ba2 from Ba1. The Speculative Grade Liquidity (SGL) rating of SGL-1 is unchanged, and the outlook was revised to stable from negative.

Downgrades:

..Issuer: Xerox Holdings Corporation

.... Corporate Family Rating, Downgraded to Ba2 from Ba1

.... Probability of Default Rating, Downgraded to Ba2-PD from Ba1-PD

....Gtd Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Downgraded to Ba2 (LGD4) from Ba1 (LGD4)

..Issuer: Xerox Corporation

....Gtd Senior Unsecured Bank Credit Facility, Downgraded to Ba2 (LGD4) from Ba1 (LGD4)

....Senior Unsecured Regular Bond/Debenture, Downgraded to Ba2 (LGD4) from Ba1 (LGD4)

Affirmations:

..Issuer: Xerox Corporation

....Senior Unsecured Commercial Paper, Affirmed NP

Outlook Actions:

..Issuer: Xerox Holdings Corporation

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Negative

..Issuer: Xerox Corporation

....Outlook, Changed To Stable From Negative

RATINGS RATIONALE

The CFR downgrade to Ba2 reflects the ongoing challenges Xerox faces to grow overall revenues and maintain profit margins. Supply chain disruptions contributed to a greater than expected decline in the number of equipment installs in 4Q21 and will continue through at least mid-2022. Operating performance will continue to be hindered by delays in the return to office trends as a result of the lingering pandemic. The downgrade also considers Xerox's aggressive financial policies which favor shareholder interests. The company funded $388 million of share buybacks in 4Q21 bringing total 2021 repurchases to just under $890 million despite weaker than expected operating results in 4Q21, elevated leverage, and guidance for tepid operating performance in 2022.

Over the next year, Moody's expects organic revenue growth will be pressured due to ongoing supply chain disruptions which contributed to equipment shortages and the remaining impact of coronavirus. Revenues for fiscal December 2021 increased only modestly to $7.04 billion as a (7.9%) revenue decline for the three months of 4Q21 offset top line gains through the first half of 2021 due to supply chain issues. For 2022, Moody's expects only modest overall revenue growth given secular pressures from declining print demand combined with only partial recovery in the percentage of workers returning to their offices.

The Ba2 CFR incorporates higher financial leverage for Xerox with debt to EBITDA exceeding 3.5x (Moody's adjusted) for the majority of 2022 and reduced free cash flow reflecting the company's plans to increase investments in growth businesses by roughly 50% to $200 million. Xerox has gained market share in the past year, particularly for office-centric offerings, but competition remains intense in this mature industry with new equipment and service offerings from other providers, a few of whom have deeper financial pockets, more stable top lines due to significant revenue diversification, or better penetration in certain higher growth Asian and other emerging markets.

Xerox's ratings are supported by the company's good market position in its core mid-range print and document outsourcing markets as well as very good liquidity. Excluding the impact of COVID-19, more than 70% of Xerox's revenue is typically derived from post-sale activities that include document outsourcing, managed print services, maintenance service, supplies (toner and paper), and finance income. These elements come with higher operating margins and often provide recurring revenue streams. Xerox engages in customer financing as part of its overall selling proposition to provide a competitive advantage and greater flexibility in structuring large technology purchases. However, financing equipment receivables weigh on the company's risk assessment due to the ongoing need to manage sizable debt maturities and cost of funding.

Demand for office copiers and printers remains in secular decline driven by the substitution of traditional physical copies with digital documents and the social trend to go paperless. Governance is also a key consideration given the company's aggressive financial policies including Xerox's debt-financed proposal to acquire HP Inc. in November 2019 and funding over $1 billion of dividends and share buybacks in 2021. In addition, Xerox established a new holding company, Xerox Holdings Corporation ("Xerox"), with the intent of providing strategic, operational, and financial flexibility. Xerox guarantees the credit facility of Xerox Corporation but does not guarantee the senior notes of Xerox Corporation which could favor shareholders, debt investors of Xerox, and revolver lenders at the expense of Xerox Corporation noteholders. Xerox's board is comprised of ten members of which nine are considered independent. Xerox's shareholder base includes funds of Icahn Associates owning roughly 20.5% of outstanding shares as of the end of January 2022, followed by Vanguard and Blackrock owning 6% - 8%, and other investment firms owning less than 5%.

The Speculative Grade Liquidity (SGL) rating of SGL-1 reflects the company's very good liquidity supported by more than $1.8 billion of cash as of December 2021, an undrawn $1.8 billion revolver, and good free cash flow in 2022 despite stepped up investments in growth businesses as well as the ongoing impact of global supply chain disruptions and the pandemic.

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

The stable outlook reflects Moody's expectation that top line gains over the next year will be modest with revenues from newer growth businesses, such as 3D Printing, CareAR, and Xerox Financial Services, largely offsetting potential revenue declines for Xerox's core copier and printing operations. The outlook also incorporates Moody's expectation that debt to EBITDA (Moody's adjusted) will improve over the next year from current elevated levels through growth in adjusted EBITDA or debt reduction and liquidity will remain very good with ample cash balances and revolver availability. Although Xerox intends to increase investments in growth businesses by roughly 50% to $200 million in 2022, Moody's expect adjusted free cash flow to debt will be in the low double digit percentage range. The stable outlook does not contemplate further share repurchases beyond the remaining authorization for an additional $113 million.

Ratings could be upgraded if Xerox demonstrates consistent revenue growth, stable to improving operating margins, and growing free cash flow. An upgrade would also require conservative financial discipline, ensuring classes of unsecured debt at Xerox and Xerox Corporation will have similar instrument ratings despite potentially asymmetric investment activities, and maintaining the asset quality of its expanded finance operations to non-Xerox offerings. These results would be evidenced by achieving and maintaining adjusted operating margins in the low double-digit percentage range, adjusted total debt to EBITDA approaching 2.5x, and improving free cash flow generation.

Ratings could be downgraded if Xerox is unable to stabilize total revenues or if operating margins weaken. Downward rating actions could also occur if liquidity deteriorates, including cash balances approaching $500 million or revolver availability declining to less than $800 million, or if Moody's expects adjusted debt to EBITDA will be sustained above 3.50x after 2022 or adjusted free cash flow to debt will fall below 10%. Ratings could also be downgraded if the company funds share buybacks beyond the remaining $113 million currently authorized, classes of unsecured debt at Xerox or Xerox Corporation have different instrument ratings reflecting asymmetric credit metrics, or the asset quality of the finance operations erodes.

Xerox Holdings Corporation, based in Norwalk, CT, is a leader in document processing systems and related supplies for enterprises including SMBs, governmental entities, and Fortune 100 companies. Revenues are generated primarily in the Americas and EMEA.

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Diversified Technology published in August 2018 and available at https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_1130737. 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 http://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_1288235.

At least one ESG consideration was material to the credit rating action(s) announced and described above.

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.

The Global Scale Credit Rating on this Credit Rating Announcement was issued by one of Moody's affiliates outside the UK and is endorsed by Moody's Investors Service Limited, One Canada Square, Canary Wharf, London E14 5FA under the law applicable to credit rating agencies in the UK. Further information on the UK 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.

Carl Salas
VP - Senior Credit Officer
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

Stephen Sohn
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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