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09 Jun 2010
Approximately $322 million of rated debt securities affected
New York, June 09, 2010 -- Moody's Investors Service today upgraded Nash Finch Company's (Nash
Finch) debt ratings, including its Corporate Family (CFR) and Probability
of Default (PDR) Ratings to B1 from B2, and its convertible senior
subordinated notes to B3 from Caa1. The ratings outlook remains
The upgrades reflect Nash Finch's relatively stable operating performance
and solid credit metrics despite the ongoing challenging economic environment.
With low volatility and limited vulnerability to changes in economic conditions,
the company's Military Distribution segment has provided some offset
to weakness in its Food Distribution and Retail segments, although
at a lower gross profit margin. For the latest twelve month period
ending March 27, 2010, Debt/EBITDA and EBITA/Interest remained
fairly stable at 3.3x and 2.9x, respectively.
Liquidity remains good, supported by the expectation for continued
positive free cash flow generation and availability under its revolving
credit facility, although somewhat tempered by continued sizeable
Nash Finch's ratings are constrained by its modest scale and competitive
position in the grocery retailing and food distribution segments,
and low margin levels. Sales and margins in these businesses have
weakened over the past year due to lower comparable sales and a deflationary
pricing environment. On a combined basis, in the first quarter
of 2010, sales and EBITDA in these segments declined 4% and
14%, respectively, while EBITDA margin declined to
2.4% from 2.6% last year. The rating
considers Moody's concern that margin improvement could be limited in
the near term due to the uncertain pricing environment and ongoing competitive
pressures in some of Nash Finch's segments.
The positive ratings outlook reflects the expectation that the company
will maintain good liquidity, conservative financial management
and solid credit metrics while continuing its growth strategy and modest
returns to shareholders. A ratings upgrade would require material
and sustained margin improvement while maintaining credit metrics near
current levels and good liquidity. The outlook could return to
stable through any further margin declines, or should credit metrics
or liquidity erode through material debt-funded acquisitions,
dividends or share repurchases.
For further details, refer to moody's.com for Moody's
Credit opinion on Nash Finch.
The following ratings were upgraded:
-- Corporate Family Rating to B1 from B2;
-- Probability of Default Rating to B1 from B2;
-- $322 million convertible senior subordinated notes
due 2035 to B3 (LGD6, 92%) from Caa1 (LGD6, 91%)
The prior rating action on Nash Finch was on March 25, 2008,
when Moody's confirmed the company's B2 Corporate Family Rating
with a positive outlook.
Nash Finch's ratings were assigned by evaluating factors that Moody's
considers relevant to the credit profile of the issuer, the company's
(i) business risk and competitive position compared with others within
the industry; (ii) capital structure and financial risk; (iii)
projected performance over the near to intermediate term; and (iv)
management's track record and tolerance for risk. Moody's compared
these attributes against other issuers both within and outside Nash Finch's
core industry and believes the company's ratings are comparable
to those of other issuers with similar credit risk.
Nash Finch, headquartered in Edina, Minnesota, reports
three operating segments: food distribution, military food
distribution, and retail supermarkets. The company distributes
food to retailers and military commissaries and it also operates 54 supermarkets
primarily in the upper Midwest region of the United States. Revenue
for the 12 months ending March 27, 2010 exceeded $5.2
Michael M. Zuccaro
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service
Kendra M. Smith
Corporate Finance Group
Moody's Investors Service
Moody's upgrades Nash Finch to B1, outlook remains positive
No Related Data.
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