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Rating Action:

Moody´s places Comerci's ratings under review for upgrade

 The document has been translated in other languages

09 Feb 2015

Mexico, February 09, 2015 -- Moody's de México (Moody's) placed Controladora Comercial Mexicana, S.A.B. de C.V.'s (Comerci) Aa3.mx and Ba1 corporate family ratings (issuer ratings) under review for upgrade.

RATINGS RATIONALE

This action results from Comerci's announcement on January 28, 2015 that it reached an agreement with Organización Soriana, S.A.B. (Soriana, unrated) to sell the business and operation of 160 retail stores operated under the Mega, Tiendas Comercial Mexicana, Bodega Comercial Mexicana and Alprecio formats.

The transaction includes the creation of a new company (New Co.) which will retain 22 supermarkets under the City Market, Fresko, and Sumesa formats as well as 18 stores under other formats that will be ultimately converted to City Market and Fresko stores. Following approval of shareholders and regulators, Comerci ex-New Co would be then acquired by Soriana through a Public Offering in the Mexican stock exchange.

Pro-forma for the spin-off of New Co., credit metrics of the remaining entity (Comerci ex-New Co.) will remain strong for the rating category, with an estimated adj. debt/EBITDA below one time. Moreover, after the completion of the transaction, Comerci will be part of a much larger retailer, which will benefit its competitive position as well as its clout with suppliers. Nevertheless, we consider that there are integration risks as Soriana will need to incorporate the acquired stores into its operating platform. In addition, we expect changes in expansion plans and in financial and operating policies.

Comerci's liquidity is strong. As of September 30, 2014 Comerci reported cash on hand of MXN2.7 billion (around USD200 million) that can cover 2.4 times short term debt. The company does not have committed credit facilities; instead it uses advised lines of credit for around USD110 million to finance its working capital requirements. Comerci has a comfortable long term debt maturity profile with MXN800 million due 2015, MXN657 million due 2016, and MXN500 million due 2017. According to Comerci, long term debt will be fully prepaid before the transaction closes.

During the review period, we will focus on the development of the planned transaction as well as the growth strategy and financial profile of the rated entity after the transaction closes.

The period of time covered in the financial information used to determine Controladora Comercial Mexicana S.A.B. de C.V.'s rating is between 31/12/2010 and 30/9/2014 (source: Mexican stock exchange).

The principal methodology used in rating Controladora Comercial Mexicana, S.A.B. de C.V. was the Global Retail Industry methodology published in June 2011. Please see the Credit Policy page on www.moodys.com.mx for a copy of this methodology.

Moody's National Scale Credit Ratings (NSRs) are intended as relative measures of creditworthiness among debt issues and issuers within a country, enabling market participants to better differentiate relative risks. NSRs differ from Moody's global scale credit ratings in that they are not globally comparable with the full universe of Moody's rated entities, but only with NSRs for other rated debt issues and issuers within the same country. NSRs are designated by a ".nn" country modifier signifying the relevant country, as in ".za" for South Africa. For further information on Moody's approach to national scale credit ratings, please refer to Moody's Credit rating Methodology published in June 2014 entitled "Mapping Moody's National Scale Ratings to Global Scale Ratings".

Controladora Comercial Mexicana, S.A.B. de C.V., based in Mexico City, reported revenues of MXN47.7 billion for the twelve months ended September 30, 2014. Comerci operates 200 stores, roughly 80% of them in the Mexico City metropolitan area and the country's central region. Comerci maintains seven different store formats, including hypermarkets (Mega and Comerci stores) and supermarkets (Sumesa, City Market and Fresko stores). Comerci also reaches low-income customers through its Bodega hypermarkets and Alprecio supermarkets. Comerci is majority owned and controlled by the González Nova family with approximately 36% of its shares traded on the Mexican stock exchange.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

Information sources used to prepare the rating are the following: parties involved in the ratings, parties not involved in the ratings, public information, confidential and proprietary Moody's information.

The ratings have been disclosed to the rated entity prior to public dissemination.

A general listing of the sources of information used in the rating process, and the structure and voting process for the rating committees responsible for the assignment and monitoring of ratings can be found in the Disclosure tab in www.moodys.com.mx.

The date of the last Credit Rating Action was 14/9/2012.

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.mx.

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.

This Rating is subject to upgrade or downgrade based on future changes in the financial condition of the Issuer/Security, and said modifications will be made without Moody's de México S.A. de C.V accepting any liability as a result.

Regulatory disclosures contained in this press release apply to the credit rating and, if applicable, the related rating outlook or rating review.

Moody's considers the quality of information available on the rated entity, obligation or credit satisfactory for the purposes of issuing a rating.

Moody's adopts all necessary measures so that the information it uses in assigning a rating is of sufficient quality and from sources Moody's considers to be reliable including, when appropriate, independent third-party sources. However, Moody's is not an auditor and cannot in every instance independently verify or validate information received in the rating process.

Please see Moody's Rating Symbols and Definitions on www.moodys.com.mx for further information on the meaning of each rating category and the definition of default and recovery.

Please see ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com.mx for the last rating action and the rating history. The date on which some ratings were first released goes back to a time before Moody's ratings were fully digitized and accurate data may not be available. Consequently, Moody's provides a date that it believes is the most reliable and accurate based on the information that is available to it. Please see our website www.moodys.com.mx for further information.

Please see www.moodys.com.mx for any updates on changes to the lead rating analyst and to the Moody's legal entity that has issued the rating.

The ratings issued by Moody's de Mexico are opinions regarding the credit quality of securities and/or their issuers and not a recommendation to invest in any such security and/or issuer.

Please see the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page on www.moodys.com.mx for additional regulatory disclosures for each credit rating.

Alonso Sanchez
Vice President - Senior Analyst
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's de Mexico S.A. de C.V
Ave. Paseo de las Palmas
No. 405 - 502
Col. Lomas de Chapultepec
Mexico, DF 11000
Mexico
JOURNALISTS: 001-888-779-5833
SUBSCRIBERS:52-55-1253-5700

Marianna Fernandes Rodrigues Waltz
Associate Managing Director
Corporate Finance Group
JOURNALISTS: 800-891-2518
SUBSCRIBERS: 55-11-3043-7300

Releasing Office:
Moody's de Mexico S.A. de C.V
Ave. Paseo de las Palmas
No. 405 - 502
Col. Lomas de Chapultepec
Mexico, DF 11000
Mexico
JOURNALISTS: 001-888-779-5833
SUBSCRIBERS:52-55-1253-5700

Moody´s places Comerci's ratings under review for upgrade
No Related Data.
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