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Rating Action:

Moody's upgrades JBS to Ba2; stable outlook

16 Dec 2019

New York, December 16, 2019 -- Moody's Investors Service ("Moody's") upgraded JBS S.A. (JBS)'s corporate family rating to Ba2 from Ba3 and the senior unsecured ratings of its wholly-owned subsidiaries JBS USA Lux S.A. and JBS Investments II GmbH to Ba2 from Ba3. The rating of the secured term loan under JBS USA Lux S.A. was upgraded to Ba1 from Ba2. The outlook for all ratings is stable.

Ratings actions:

Issuer: JBS S.A.

LT Corporate Family Ratings: upgraded to Ba2 from Ba3

Issuer: JBS Investments II GmbH

$1000 million GTD global notes due 2026: upgraded to Ba2 from Ba3

$750 million GTD global notes due 2028: upgraded to Ba2 from Ba3

Issuer: JBS USA Lux S.A.

$245mm GTD GLOBAL NOTES due 2021: upgraded to Ba2 from Ba3

$150mm GTD NOTES due 2024: upgraded to Ba2 from Ba3

$750mm GTD SR GLOBAL NOTES due 2024: upgraded to Ba2 from Ba3

$150mm GTD NOTES due 2025: upgraded to Ba2 from Ba3

$900mm GTD GLOBAL NOTES due 2025: upgraded to Ba2 from Ba3

$900mm GTD GLOBAL NOTES due 2028: upgraded to Ba2 from Ba3

$1000mm GTD GLOBAL NOTES due 2029: upgraded to Ba2 from Ba3

$400mm GTD NOTES due 2029: upgraded to Ba2 from Ba3

$1250mm GTD GLOBAL NOTES due 2030: upgraded to Ba2 from Ba3

$1900mm GTD SR SEC TERM LOAN due 2026: upgraded to Ba1 from Ba2

The outlook for all ratings is stable

RATINGS RATIONALE

The upgrade of JBS's ratings to Ba2 is supported by the reduction in financial leverage and liquidity risk as a consequence of stronger operating performance and successful liability management initiatives between September 2018 and September 2019 that resulted in the extension of debt maturities and reduced funding costs. In addition, the company fully repaid the Normalization Agreement, established in May 2018 for a total amount of BRL12.2 billion ($2.9 billion), and originally due in 2021. The full repayment of the Normalization Agreement released about BRL7.8 billion in collateral.

JBS's Ba2 ratings are supported by the strength of its global operations as the world's largest protein producer and its substantial diversification across protein segments, geographies and markets. JBS' strategy to expand its global footprint into value-added processed food segments has improved its business profile and will lead to more stable and stronger operating margin and cash flow over time. JBS's robust liquidity position also support the ratings. The company has a cash balance of $1.9 billion at the end of September 2019, plus $1.9 billion available under committed credit facilities, and no significant debt maturities until at least 2023.

Corporate governance concerns continue to weigh on the company's credit profile, and the risks related to a series of judicial processes, investigations and litigations, which can directly or indirectly involve JBS and its shareholders. J&F signed a leniency agreement that reduced JBS's exposure to any future liability, however, the risk is not fully eliminated. JBS continues to be controlled by the Batista family.

In May 2019, JBS implemented financial policies, including clear targets for leverage, minimum cash levels and dividends. Those policies support a more conservative financial management, moderate leverage, and strong free cash flow generation. In addition, the company has implemented several internal controls since 2018, including policies and guidelines on product donations, sponsorship, offering and/or receiving gifts, and conflict of interest, among others. Overtime, these initiatives will provide support in key risk areas of JBS's governance and risk oversight.

The ratings are also constrained by the inherent volatility in the protein industry, which is subject to risk factors such as weather conditions, diseases, supply imbalances and global trade variables, and the company's history of aggressive growth via acquisitions, impacting leverage.

The stable outlook reflects our expectation that JBS's operational performance will remain strong, including in the beef segment, which represents about 50% of the company's EBITDA (USA and Brazil beef segments), as well as in processed and prepared foods segments in the US, Brazil and its export business. The stable outlook also reflects our expectation that strong cash flows from operations will allow JBS to further reduce funding costs and leverage.

An upgrade would be subject to the overall earnings stability of JBS, sustained conservative financial policies, and further reduction of event risks related to litigations and investigations directed to the company and controlling shareholders. An upward rating movement would also require JBS to maintain a strong liquidity position, low leverage and improve coverage metrics, with leverage, measured by total debt/EBITDA, sustained below 2.5x and interest coverage, measured by EBITA/interest expense, improving towards 5x.

The ratings could be downgraded if the company's operating performance weakens, its financial policy becomes more aggressive or its liquidity deteriorates. A downgrade could be triggered by events that can increase liquidity risk, including litigations and M&A. Quantitatively, the ratings could be downgraded if total debt/EBITDA stays above 3.5x, and cash flow from operations/debt stays below 20% for a prolonged period. All credit metrics incorporate our standard adjustments.

The principal methodology used in these ratings was Protein and Agriculture published in May 2019. Please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

Headquartered in São Paulo, Brazil, JBS S.A. (JBS) is the world's largest protein producer in terms of revenue, slaughter capacity and production. The company is the leader in beef, chicken and leather, and it is the second-largest pork producer in the US. The company has a presence in over 190 countries, with large scale and diversification.

For the 12 months ended September 2019, JBS reported consolidated revenue of BRL194.7 billion ($50.3 billion), with an adjusted EBITDA margin of 10.5%. JBS USA Beef, which represents the beef and lamb operations in the US, Canada and Australia, is the company's largest business segment, accounting for 43.1% of its total revenue for the 12 months ended September 2019. Pilgrim's Pride Corporation (Pilgrim's Pride, Ba3 stable), including Moy Park (UK poultry), accounted for 21.8% of the total revenue, while the US pork business contributed 11.6%. JBS S.A. Brasil (Beef Brazil) represented 15.3% of the total revenue for the same period. Brazil-based Seara S.A. (Seara), which comprises poultry, pork and processed foods operations, was responsible for 9.9% of revenue.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

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.

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.

The person who approved JBS S.A. and JBS Investments II GmbH credit ratings is Marianna Waltz, CFA, MD - Corporate Finance, Corporate Finance Group, JOURNALISTS: 800 891 2518, Client Service: 1 212 553 1653. The person who approved JBS USA Lux S.A. credit ratings is Peter H. Abdill, CFA, MD - Corporate Finance, Corporate Finance Group, JOURNALISTS: 1 212 553 0376, Client Service: 1 212 553 1653.

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.

Barbara Mattos, CFA
Senior Vice President
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's America Latina Ltda.
Avenida Nacoes Unidas, 12.551
16th Floor, Room 1601
Sao Paulo, SP 04578-903
Brazil
JOURNALISTS: 0 800 891 2518
Client Service: 1 212 553 1653

Marianna Waltz, CFA
MD - Corporate Finance
Corporate Finance Group
JOURNALISTS: 0 800 891 2518
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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CREDIT RATINGS ISSUED BY MOODY'S INVESTORS SERVICE, INC. AND/OR ITS CREDIT RATINGS AFFILIATES ARE MOODY'S 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 INVESTORS SERVICE 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 MOODY'S RATING SYMBOLS AND DEFINITIONS PUBLICATION FOR INFORMATION ON THE TYPES OF CONTRACTUAL FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS ADDRESSED BY MOODY'S INVESTORS SERVICE 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.

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