Fiat: Fitch prevede ritorno outlook stabile. Titolo cede quasi il 4%

20 Gennaio 2011, di Redazione Wall Street Italia

L’agenzia di rating Fitch ha detto di prevedere un ritorno all’outlook stabile per il titolo Fiat. L’istituto stima che i conti del 2010 del Lingotto saranno infatti forti e andranno a superare le attese.

Oggi la giornata e’ stata negativa per il titolo Fiat Industrial, che con un ribasso del 3,74% si e’ confermato tra i peggiori del Ftse Mib. Il titolo sconta la decisione di JP Morgan di tagliare il rating a “underweight” da “neutral”, ma anche il giudiziodi Nomura, che ha abbassato il target di Fiat Spa a 7 euro dal precedente 12 euro. “Ilcore business di Fiat non è appetibile alle valutazioni correnti”, ha detto Alexis Albert, analista di Nomura , econdo quanto riportato da Bloomberg. In una nota ai clienti Albert ha precisato che la valutazione sul titolo è “reduce”.

Tornando a Fitch, l’agenzia di rating ha precisato che i risultati di bilancio a suo avviso più forti delle attese che Fiat Spa riporterà nel 2010 mitigheranno “l’impatto lievemente negativo sul suo profilo del credito” che deriva dall’operazione di spin off, concretizzata agli inizi di quest’anno.

Fitch prevede poi che la Fiat aumenterà il suo controllo su Chrysler dopo lo spin off e che “questo fattore è visto positivamente dall’agenzia nel medio termine”.

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IL COMUNICATO DELL’AGENZIA DI RATING

Fitch: Fiat Strong FY10 Results to Mitigate Mildly Negative Impact from Demerger

Fitch Ratings says that Fiat Spa’s (Fiat) FY10 figures, to be reported on 27 January, should have no impact on ratings. Fiat is rated Long-term Issuer Default (IDR) and senior unsecured ‘BB+’, respectively, and Short-term IDR ‘B’. The Outlook on the Long-term IDR is Negative. Fiat Finance & Trade Ltd’s (FFT) senior unsecured rating is ‘BB+’.

Fitch believes that Fiat, like most auto manufacturers, will report stronger-than-expected results for FY10, on the back of solid demand from emerging markets and the positive impact from fiscal incentives in Europe. Fiat benefits from its leading market position in Brazil, where sales boomed in 2010, and from the recovery in light commercial vehicles sales in Europe. The European market, and Italy in particular, should, however, remain difficult in 2011 as a result of the end of the 2009 scrapping incentives as well as weak consumer sentiment and the negative impact from austerity measures.

The spin-off of Fiat Industrial (Fiat’s agricultural and construction equipment (CNH), and truck (Iveco) divisions, and a part of its powertrain (FPT Industrial) division), effective since early January 2011, is considered by Fitch to be mildly negative for Fiat’s credit profile. This is because Fitch expects the company’s profit margins will be lower without CNH and Iveco and business diversification will be reduced. Fitch expects FY10 revenue to increase to approximately EUR56bn from EUR50.1bn in FY09, but to fall to EUR41bn in FY11 post demerger.

However, Fitch expects Fiat to increase its control on Chrysler after the spin-off and this is seen positively by the agency over the medium term. The alliance with Chrysler should provide material synergies and cost savings, strengthen both groups’ model ranges and increase diversification. Fiat currently holds 25% of Chrysler, including the first of three milestones to increase its stake by 5% each. It is expected to reach the other two milestones in 2011. Fiat also holds an option to lift its stake to 51% between 2013 and 2016, once it has repaid all of its US and Canadian government debt (approximately USD7bn at end-September 2010).

The final impact of the demerger of Fiat Industrial on Fiat’s ratings is still uncertain as the closing allocation of debt between Fiat and Fiat Industrial has not been confirmed. Furthermore, the future amount of bank and other debt has not been detailed. However, management confirmed that net financial debt from industrial operations should be split approximately 60%/40% between Fiat Industrial and Fiat. All bonds issued by Fiat (approximately EUR9bn, and issued by the financing subsidiary FFT) will remain with Fiat and there will be no early repayment of outstanding bonds. Fiat reported EUR4bn net debt from its industrial operations at end-Q310, unadjusted for pension liabilities and operating leases (EUR1bn and EUR0.9bn, respectively, at end-2009), and guided for industrial net debt of less than EUR4bn at end-2010, i.e. less than EUR1.6bn for Fiat post-demerger at the start of FY11.

Fitch will closely monitor the development of key credit metrics in coming quarters and its impact on ratings. Fiat’s net industrial leverage, before adjustments, fell to less than 1x at end-Q310, from 1.3x at end-2009. Assuming the above-mentioned debt split between Fiat and Fiat Industrial, Fitch expects net industrial leverage to decline further to approximately 0.7x at end-2011. However, Fitch notes that Fiat’s profitability will be weaker post demerger. Fitch expects Fiat’s pro-forma trading profit margin, post demerger, to fall to approximately 2.2% in FY10, from 3.9% pre-demerger, but to recover to approximately 2.7% in FY11.

Over the medium term, Fitch gains comfort from the recent measures taken to cut costs and improve the industrial process, from the strengthening product pipeline and the synergies to be derived from the alliance with Chrysler. Fiat announced financial targets including trading margins 4%-4.8% in 2011, 5.4%-6.2% in 2012 and 6.3%-7.1% in 2013. The Outlook could return to Stable if Fitch anticipates Fiat to achieve or come close to its financial targets in 2011 and/or adjusted net leverage is 1x or below. Conversely, failure to improve credit metrics and/or worse-than-expected automotive markets in 2011 leading to poor performance could result in a downgrade to ‘BB’.