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Rating Action:

Moody's places ratings on 188 securities from 114 US CLOs on review for possible upgrade

08 Dec 2020

Approximately $5.6 billion of securities affected

New York, December 08, 2020 -- Moody's Investors Service ("Moody's") announced today that it placed on review for possible upgrade 188 securities issued by 114 collateralized loan obligations (CLOs) as a result of the recent update of "Moody's Global Approach to Rating Collateralized Loan Obligations."

Please click on this link https://www.moodys.com/viewresearchdoc.aspx?docid=PBS_ARFTL436990 for the List of Affected Credit Ratings. This list is an integral part of this Press Release and identifies each affected issuer.

The actions include Moody's placement on review for possible upgrade its ratings on 187 securities issued by 113 CLOs backed primarily by broadly syndicated loans (BSL), and one security issued by one CLO backed primarily by small to medium-sized enterprise (SME) loans. The affected CLO securities include 33 rated Aa1 (sf) - Aa3 (sf), 82 rated A1 (sf) - A3 (sf), 61 rated Baa1 (sf) - Baa3 (sf), and 12 rated Ba1 (sf) - Ba3 (sf). Approximately 94% of the securities we placed on review for possible upgrade today are currently rated Baa3 (sf) or higher. In addition, the significant majority, or 167 of the 188 securities placed on review for possible upgrade are from CLOs in, or entering, their amortization periods. The CLO securities placed on review for possible upgrade today represent approximately 3.9% by count, or 1.4% by balance, of Moody's-rated US BSL CLO/SME CLO/CBO securities outstanding.

The changes to the methodology primarily relate to the analytical treatment of corporate obligors with a negative outlook or whose ratings are on review for upgrade or downgrade, and were proposed in a Request for Comment published on 17 September 2020. As originally proposed and adopted, Moody's applies the below adjustments in assessing an obligor's Moody's Default Probability Rating, which is used primarily to calculate the weighted average rating factor (WARF):

(1) An obligor's rating on review for possible downgrade is adjusted down by one notch.

(2) An obligor's rating on review for possible upgrade is adjusted up by one notch.

(3) An obligor's rating is not adjusted based on the obligor's rating outlook status.

The most significant consequence of these changes is that Moody's calculation of WARF - a measure of the weighted average default probability of a CLO's collateral assets - is now generally lower than before the methodology update. Many CLOs' exposures to obligors with ratings assigned a negative outlook currently exceed the historical average. As a result, Moody's-calculated WARF values for a significant number of CLOs are now materially lower than before the methodology update.

Although the updated methodology results in a broad change in Moody's assessment of obligor default risk and calculation of WARF, only certain deals are impacted. The update specifically impacts Moody's ratings on CLOs (1) that are amortizing, or (2) whose ratings Moody's bases on actual credit quality metric levels, instead of proposed covenants, following material collateral quality deterioration. The other deals that are still in their reinvestment phase continue to be rated based on the WARF covenant levels and are not impacted as the update does not impact the covenants. The impact is also limited in SME CLOs as they are mainly backed by unrated assets with only a small portion of rated collateral that are placed on review or assigned outlooks. Thus, the revised methodology mostly has a positive immediate impact on a material but limited subset of BSL CLOs, potentially affecting rated securities issued by amortizing deals and previously downgraded securities issued by reinvesting deals.

Moody's notes that the credit quality of the CLO portfolios has generally, and in many cases materially, deteriorated since early 2020, following the economic shocks brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Corporate credit risk remains elevated, and Moody's projects that default rates will continue to rise through the first quarter of 2021. Although recovery is underway in the US and Europe, it is a fragile one. As a result, Moody's analyses continue to take into account a forward-looking assessment of the different trajectories the economic recovery may follow as a function of vaccine development and availability, effective pandemic management, and supportive government policy responses.

Moody's strives to conclude rating reviews within 90 days. However, due to the high degree of uncertainty in the current credit environment, the resolution of these watchlist actions may extend beyond the usual timeframe.

RATINGS RATIONALE

The rating actions result primarily from the update to Moody's methodology for rating CLOs, and Moody's determination that expected losses (ELs) on the affected CLO securities are likely less than previously calculated. This follows from Moody's assessment that the default risks in the underlying portfolios are lower than previously assumed using the treatment in effect prior to the methodology update.

To identify the CLO securities subject to today's rating action, Moody's analyzed the cash flows of CLOs based on Moody's modeling approach and then calculated the estimated ELs (expressed as a rating category) of a CLO security both before and after giving effect to the methodology changes. Moody's initially analyzed a CLO security to be impacted by the methodology changes if the CLO security's estimated EL after giving effect to the methodology changes is better than both its estimated EL before giving effect to the methodology changes and its current rating.

Moody's analysis also considered certain deal-level or tranche-level factors to finalize identification of the CLO securities with ratings placed on review for possible upgrade. These included, but were not limited to, the amount of credit enhancement supporting a CLO security, a CLO's reported exposure to collateral assets with Caa- or worse ratings, and a CLO's overall WARF level.

The coronavirus outbreak, the government measures put in place to contain it, and the weak global economic outlook continue to disrupt economies and credit markets across sectors and regions. Our analysis has considered the effect on the performance of corporate assets from the current weak US economic activity and a gradual recovery for the coming months. Although an economic recovery is underway, it is tenuous, and its continuation will be closely tied to containment of the virus. As a result, the degree of uncertainty around our forecasts is unusually high.

We regard the coronavirus outbreak as a social risk under our ESG framework, given the substantial implications for public health and safety.

The principal methodology used in these ratings was "Moody's Global Approach to Rating Collateralized Loan Obligations" published in December 2020 and available at https://www.moodys.com/viewresearchdoc.aspx?docid=PBS_1242167. Alternatively, please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

Factors that would lead to an upgrade or downgrade of the ratings:

The performance of the rated CLO securities is subject to, and is sensitive to, the performance of the related CLOs' underlying portfolios and related CLOs, respectively, which in turn depends on economic and credit conditions that may change. In particular, the length and severity of the economic and credit shock precipitated by the global coronavirus pandemic will have a significant impact on the performance of the securities. Additionally, to the extent that trading is permitted and feasible with respect to a CLO, the applicable CLO manager's investment decisions and management of such transaction will also affect the performance of CLO securities.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

The List of Affected Credit Ratings announced here are all solicited credit ratings. Additionally, the List of Affected Credit Ratings includes additional disclosures that vary with regard to some of the ratings. Please click on this link https://www.moodys.com/viewresearchdoc.aspx?docid=PBS_ARFTL436990 for the List of Affected Credit Ratings. This list is an integral part of this Press Release and provides, for each of the credit ratings covered, Moody's disclosures on the following items:

• Rating Solicitation

• Issuer Participation

• Participation: Access to Management

• Participation: Access to Internal Documents

• Disclosure to Rated Entity

• Endorsement

• Lead Analyst

• Releasing Office

• Person Approving the Credit Rating

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.

The analysis relies on an assessment of collateral characteristics to determine the collateral loss distribution, that is, the function that correlates to an assumption about the likelihood of occurrence to each level of possible losses in the collateral. As a second step, Moody's evaluates each possible collateral loss scenario using a model that replicates the relevant structural features to derive payments and therefore the ultimate potential losses for each rated instrument. The loss a rated instrument incurs in each collateral loss scenario, weighted by assumptions about the likelihood of events in that scenario occurring, results in the expected loss of the rated instrument.

Moody's quantitative analysis entails an evaluation of scenarios that stress factors contributing to sensitivity of ratings and take into account the likelihood of severe collateral losses or impaired cash flows. Moody's weights the impact on the rated instruments based on its assumptions of the likelihood of the events in such scenarios occurring.

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.

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 https://www.moodys.com/researchdocumentcontentpage.aspx?docid=PBC_1133569.

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

The below contact information is provided for information purposes only. Please see the ratings tab of the issuer page at www.moodys.com, for each of the ratings covered, Moody's disclosures on the lead rating analyst and the Moody's legal entity that has issued the ratings.

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.

Louis Geneste
Analyst
Structured 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

Leon Mogunov
Associate Managing Director
Structured Finance Group
JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

Dev Chatterjee
MD - Structured Finance
Structured Finance Group
JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

Ding Li
Analyst
Structured 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.
© 2021 Moody’s Corporation, Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., Moody’s Analytics, Inc. and/or their licensors and affiliates (collectively, “MOODY’S”). All rights reserved.

CREDIT RATINGS ISSUED BY MOODY'S CREDIT RATINGS AFFILIATES ARE THEIR CURRENT OPINIONS OF THE RELATIVE FUTURE CREDIT RISK OF ENTITIES, CREDIT COMMITMENTS, OR DEBT OR DEBT-LIKE SECURITIES, AND MATERIALS, PRODUCTS, SERVICES AND INFORMATION PUBLISHED BY MOODY’S (COLLECTIVELY, “PUBLICATIONS”) MAY INCLUDE SUCH CURRENT OPINIONS. MOODY’S DEFINES CREDIT RISK AS THE RISK THAT AN ENTITY MAY NOT MEET ITS CONTRACTUAL FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS AS THEY COME DUE AND ANY ESTIMATED FINANCIAL LOSS IN THE EVENT OF DEFAULT OR IMPAIRMENT. SEE APPLICABLE MOODY’S RATING SYMBOLS AND DEFINITIONS PUBLICATION FOR INFORMATION ON THE TYPES OF CONTRACTUAL FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS ADDRESSED BY MOODY’S CREDIT RATINGS. CREDIT RATINGS DO NOT ADDRESS ANY OTHER RISK, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO: LIQUIDITY RISK, MARKET VALUE RISK, OR PRICE VOLATILITY. CREDIT RATINGS, NON-CREDIT ASSESSMENTS (“ASSESSMENTS”), AND OTHER OPINIONS INCLUDED IN MOODY’S PUBLICATIONS ARE NOT STATEMENTS OF CURRENT OR HISTORICAL FACT. MOODY’S PUBLICATIONS MAY ALSO INCLUDE QUANTITATIVE MODEL-BASED ESTIMATES OF CREDIT RISK AND RELATED OPINIONS OR COMMENTARY PUBLISHED BY MOODY’S ANALYTICS, INC. AND/OR ITS AFFILIATES. MOODY’S CREDIT RATINGS, ASSESSMENTS, OTHER OPINIONS AND PUBLICATIONS DO NOT CONSTITUTE OR PROVIDE INVESTMENT OR FINANCIAL ADVICE, AND MOODY’S CREDIT RATINGS, ASSESSMENTS, OTHER OPINIONS AND PUBLICATIONS ARE NOT AND DO NOT PROVIDE RECOMMENDATIONS TO PURCHASE, SELL, OR HOLD PARTICULAR SECURITIES. MOODY’S CREDIT RATINGS, ASSESSMENTS, OTHER OPINIONS AND PUBLICATIONS DO NOT COMMENT ON THE SUITABILITY OF AN INVESTMENT FOR ANY PARTICULAR INVESTOR. MOODY’S ISSUES ITS CREDIT RATINGS, ASSESSMENTS AND OTHER OPINIONS AND PUBLISHES ITS PUBLICATIONS WITH THE EXPECTATION AND UNDERSTANDING THAT EACH INVESTOR WILL, WITH DUE CARE, MAKE ITS OWN STUDY AND EVALUATION OF EACH SECURITY THAT IS UNDER CONSIDERATION FOR PURCHASE, HOLDING, OR SALE.

MOODY’S CREDIT RATINGS, ASSESSMENTS, OTHER OPINIONS, AND PUBLICATIONS ARE NOT INTENDED FOR USE BY RETAIL INVESTORS AND IT WOULD BE RECKLESS AND INAPPROPRIATE FOR RETAIL INVESTORS TO USE MOODY’S CREDIT RATINGS, ASSESSMENTS, OTHER OPINIONS OR PUBLICATIONS WHEN MAKING AN INVESTMENT DECISION. IF IN DOUBT YOU SHOULD CONTACT YOUR FINANCIAL OR OTHER PROFESSIONAL ADVISER.

ALL INFORMATION CONTAINED HEREIN IS PROTECTED BY LAW, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO, COPYRIGHT LAW, AND NONE OF SUCH INFORMATION MAY BE COPIED OR OTHERWISE REPRODUCED, REPACKAGED, FURTHER TRANSMITTED, TRANSFERRED, DISSEMINATED, REDISTRIBUTED OR RESOLD, OR STORED FOR SUBSEQUENT USE FOR ANY SUCH PURPOSE, IN WHOLE OR IN PART, IN ANY FORM OR MANNER OR BY ANY MEANS WHATSOEVER, BY ANY PERSON WITHOUT MOODY’S PRIOR WRITTEN CONSENT.

MOODY’S CREDIT RATINGS, ASSESSMENTS, OTHER OPINIONS AND PUBLICATIONS ARE NOT INTENDED FOR USE BY ANY PERSON AS A BENCHMARK AS THAT TERM IS DEFINED FOR REGULATORY PURPOSES AND MUST NOT BE USED IN ANY WAY THAT COULD RESULT IN THEM BEING CONSIDERED A BENCHMARK.

All information contained herein is obtained by MOODY’S from sources believed by it to be accurate and reliable. Because of the possibility of human or mechanical error as well as other factors, however, all information contained herein is provided “AS IS” without warranty of any kind. MOODY'S adopts all necessary measures so that the information it uses in assigning a credit 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 or in preparing its Publications.

To the extent permitted by law, MOODY’S and its directors, officers, employees, agents, representatives, licensors and suppliers disclaim liability to any person or entity for any indirect, special, consequential, or incidental losses or damages whatsoever arising from or in connection with the information contained herein or the use of or inability to use any such information, even if MOODY’S or any of its directors, officers, employees, agents, representatives, licensors or suppliers is advised in advance of the possibility of such losses or damages, including but not limited to: (a) any loss of present or prospective profits or (b) any loss or damage arising where the relevant financial instrument is not the subject of a particular credit rating assigned by MOODY’S.

To the extent permitted by law, MOODY’S and its directors, officers, employees, agents, representatives, licensors and suppliers disclaim liability for any direct or compensatory losses or damages caused to any person or entity, including but not limited to by any negligence (but excluding fraud, willful misconduct or any other type of liability that, for the avoidance of doubt, by law cannot be excluded) on the part of, or any contingency within or beyond the control of, MOODY’S or any of its directors, officers, employees, agents, representatives, licensors or suppliers, arising from or in connection with the information contained herein or the use of or inability to use any such information.

NO WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, AS TO THE ACCURACY, TIMELINESS, COMPLETENESS, MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR ANY PARTICULAR PURPOSE OF ANY CREDIT RATING, ASSESSMENT, OTHER OPINION OR INFORMATION IS GIVEN OR MADE BY MOODY’S IN ANY FORM OR MANNER WHATSOEVER.

Moody’s Investors Service, Inc., a wholly-owned credit rating agency subsidiary of Moody’s Corporation (“MCO”), hereby discloses that most issuers of debt securities (including corporate and municipal bonds, debentures, notes and commercial paper) and preferred stock rated by Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. have, prior to assignment of any credit rating, agreed to pay to Moody’s Investors Service, Inc. for credit ratings opinions and services rendered by it fees ranging from $1,000 to approximately $5,000,000. MCO and Moody’s Investors Service also maintain policies and procedures to address the independence of Moody’s Investors Service credit ratings and credit rating processes. Information regarding certain affiliations that may exist between directors of MCO and rated entities, and between entities who hold credit ratings from Moody’s Investors Service and have also publicly reported to the SEC an ownership interest in MCO of more than 5%, is posted annually at www.moodys.com under the heading “Investor Relations — Corporate Governance — Director and Shareholder Affiliation Policy.”

Additional terms for Australia only: Any publication into Australia of this document is pursuant to the Australian Financial Services License of MOODY’S affiliate, Moody’s Investors Service Pty Limited ABN 61 003 399 657AFSL 336969 and/or Moody’s Analytics Australia Pty Ltd ABN 94 105 136 972 AFSL 383569 (as applicable). This document is intended to be provided only to “wholesale clients” within the meaning of section 761G of the Corporations Act 2001. By continuing to access this document from within Australia, you represent to MOODY’S that you are, or are accessing the document as a representative of, a “wholesale client” and that neither you nor the entity you represent will directly or indirectly disseminate this document or its contents to “retail clients” within the meaning of section 761G of the Corporations Act 2001. MOODY’S credit rating is an opinion as to the creditworthiness of a debt obligation of the issuer, not on the equity securities of the issuer or any form of security that is available to retail investors.

Additional terms for Japan only: Moody's Japan K.K. (“MJKK”) is a wholly-owned credit rating agency subsidiary of Moody's Group Japan G.K., which is wholly-owned by Moody’s Overseas Holdings Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of MCO. Moody’s SF Japan K.K. (“MSFJ”) is a wholly-owned credit rating agency subsidiary of MJKK. MSFJ is not a Nationally Recognized Statistical Rating Organization (“NRSRO”). Therefore, credit ratings assigned by MSFJ are Non-NRSRO Credit Ratings. Non-NRSRO Credit Ratings are assigned by an entity that is not a NRSRO and, consequently, the rated obligation will not qualify for certain types of treatment under U.S. laws. MJKK and MSFJ are credit rating agencies registered with the Japan Financial Services Agency and their registration numbers are FSA Commissioner (Ratings) No. 2 and 3 respectively.

MJKK or MSFJ (as applicable) hereby disclose that most issuers of debt securities (including corporate and municipal bonds, debentures, notes and commercial paper) and preferred stock rated by MJKK or MSFJ (as applicable) have, prior to assignment of any credit rating, agreed to pay to MJKK or MSFJ (as applicable) for credit ratings opinions and services rendered by it fees ranging from JPY125,000 to approximately JPY550,000,000.

MJKK and MSFJ also maintain policies and procedures to address Japanese regulatory requirements.

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