Monday, 6 October 2014
An interesting snippet from the AUSTRALIAN NEWSPAPER HISTORY GROUP NEWSLETTER No. 79 October 2014:
79.3.4 APN (2): Rating downgraded
Ratings agency Standard and Poor’s has downgraded APN News & Media’s debt credit rating after the media company canned a proposed offering of senior unsecured notes in the US bond market (Australian, 18 September 2014). S&P has lowered the publishing, outdoor advertising and radio company’s debt to BB from BB+. APN was expected to use the proceeds from the $US250 million ($270m) issue to repay its outstanding debt and to cancel commitments under a bank facility of $630m.
A BB rating is assigned when a company’s creditworthiness and ability to meet financial commitments is deemed to face “major ongoing uncertainties or exposure to adverse business, financial, or economic conditions”. APN abandoned the offering citing unsatisfactory “terms and conditions”, and said the decision would not impact debt level or maturities. The company recently entered into a new facility with a syndicate of domestic and international banks, and was carrying net debt of $482.6m as of June 2014. The debt downgrade comes as APN considers strategic options for APN New Zealand, which operates publishing assets including the New Zealand Herald as well as The Radio Network and the digital business GrabOne. APN has retained Grant Samuel to assist in the process.