U.S. markets closed
  • S&P 500

    3,298.46
    +51.87 (+1.60%)
     
  • Dow 30

    27,173.96
    +358.56 (+1.34%)
     
  • Nasdaq

    10,913.56
    +241.26 (+2.26%)
     
  • Russell 2000

    1,474.91
    +23.09 (+1.59%)
     
  • Crude Oil

    40.04
    -0.21 (-0.52%)
     
  • Gold

    1,864.30
    -2.00 (-0.11%)
     
  • Silver

    22.99
    -0.11 (-0.47%)
     
  • EUR/USD

    1.1620
    -0.0056 (-0.48%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    0.6590
    -0.0070 (-1.05%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.2777
    +0.0025 (+0.20%)
     
  • USD/JPY

    105.4740
    +0.0720 (+0.07%)
     
  • BTC-USD

    10,735.53
    +0.17 (+0.00%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    230.19
    +12.36 (+5.67%)
     
  • FTSE 100

    5,842.67
    +19.89 (+0.34%)
     
  • Nikkei 225

    23,204.62
    +116.82 (+0.51%)
     

Li & Fung Limited -- Moody's assigns Baa3 to Li & Fung's USD MTN drawdown; outlook remains negative

Rating Action: Moody's assigns Baa3 to Li & Fung's USD MTN drawdown; outlook remains negative

Global Credit Research - 07 Aug 2020

Hong Kong, August 07, 2020 -- Moody's Investors Service has assigned a Baa3 rating to the proposed USD senior unsecured notes to be issued by Li & Fung Limited under the company's senior unsecured medium-term note (MTN) program ((P)Baa3).

The outlook on Li & Fung remains negative.

The company will use the bond's proceeds to refinance its short-term bank debt and for general corporate purposes.

"The coronavirus pandemic has increased Li & Fung's already heightened business risks and will significantly reduce its earnings and cash flow this year, and we expect only a gradual recovery in 2021. As such, the company's financial leverage will remain elevated over the next 12-18 months, which is reflected in the negative outlook," says Gloria Tsuen, a Moody's Vice President and Senior Credit Officer.

"That said, the company has maintained prudent financial management, thus mitigating the adverse financial impact from the pandemic. The recent strategic equity investment from JD.com will also partly offset the impact on its capital structure and provide it with a strong partner in supply chain digitalization and business growth in China," adds Tsuen.

RATINGS RATIONALE

Li & Fung's Baa3 issuer rating reflects its strong and unique market position in the global sourcing and trading of consumer products, high level of customer and supplier diversification, long operating track record, and growing Asia-based logistics business. The rating also considers the structural challenges facing its traditional retail customers, which has resulted in continued decline in revenue and earnings over the last few years.

Li & Fung's credit metrics will weaken significantly this year due to reduced consumer spending, retail store closedowns and supply chain disruptions. Such negative effects will be partly offset by its rigorous cost management and the steady performance of its logistics business which contributed to about half of the company's EBITDA in 2019. The weakening would be more pronounced in first half of 2020, with a gradual recovery in 2021.

The company's weakened earnings and cash flow, partly due to extensions on working capital, will also lead to an increase in net debt, despite the USD100 million equity injection from JD.com, Inc. (Baa2 positive).

Given this, Moody's expects Li & Fung's adjusted net debt/EBITDA will increase to around 3.5x-4.0x in 2020 from 2.2x in 2019. This ratio, which is weak for the Baa3 rating category, will improve in 2021 on the back of continued cost reduction in the trading business, growth in the logistics business, and economic recovery and easing pandemic-induced disruptions. However, the extent of an improvement will be gradual. In addition, there are downside risks to this projection, given the uncertainty over the severity and duration of the pandemic and economic downturn.

Li & Fung's liquidity is adequate, with around USD380 million in cash (before the JD investment) and USD385 million in short-term debt as of the end of June 2020. The company maintained available committed and uncommitted credit facilities totaling around USD1 billion, similar to 2019 levels.

The rating also considers the following environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors.

Moody's regards the coronavirus pandemic as a social risk, given the substantial implications for public health and safety. In addition, Li & Fung's faces social risks from changes in consumer preference towards online shopping. This situation has resulted in structural weakness for traditional retailers and the company.

In terms of governance risk, the ratings consider Li & Fung's private company status following its privatization by the Fung family and GLP Pte. Ltd. (Baa3 negative) in May 2020. Moody's expects the company to maintain similar reporting, disclosure and governance standards as when it was a listed company.

FACTORS THAT COULD LEAD TO AN UPGRADE OR DOWNGRADE OF THE RATINGS

An upgrade of the ratings is unlikely, given the negative outlook. The outlook could return to stable if (1) the company stabilizes its earnings; (2) its adjusted net debt/EBITDA declines below 2.75x; and (3) it maintains its conservative financial management.

Moody's could downgrade the ratings if (1) the company fails to curb the decline in revenue and/or earnings; (2) its adjusted net debt to EBITDA remains above 2.75x for a prolonged period; or (3) it pursues aggressive acquisitions or shareholder return policies, resulting in a sizeable negative free cash flow.

The principal methodology used in this rating was Business and Consumer Service Industry published in October 2016. Please see the Rating Methodologies page on www.moodys.com for a copy of this methodology.

Founded in 1906, Li & Fung Limited is a global consumer product sourcing and trading company. Based in Hong Kong, it has over 230 offices and distribution centers in more than 40 economies.

REGULATORY DISCLOSURES

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.

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.

The rating has been disclosed to the rated entity or its designated agent (s) and issued with no amendment resulting from that disclosure.

This rating is solicited. Please refer to Moody's Policy for Designating and Assigning Unsolicited Credit Ratings available on its website www.moodys.com.

Moody's considers a rated entity or its agent(s) to be participating when it maintains an overall relationship with Moody's. Unless noted in the Regulatory Disclosures as a Non-Participating Entity, the rated entity is participating and the rated entity or its agent(s) generally provides Moody's with information for the purposes of its ratings process. Please refer to www.moodys.com for the Regulatory Disclosures for each credit rating action under the ratings tab on the issuer/entity page and for details of Moody's Policy for Designating Non-Participating Rated Entities.

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 Global Scale Credit Rating on this Credit Rating Announcement was issued by one of Moody's affiliates outside the EU and is endorsed by Moody's Deutschland GmbH, An der Welle 5, Frankfurt am Main 60322, Germany, in accordance with Art.4 paragraph 3 of the Regulation (EC) No 1060/2009 on Credit Rating Agencies. Further information on the EU endorsement status and on the Moody's office that issued the credit rating is available on www.moodys.com.

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.

The first name below is the lead rating analyst for this Credit Rating and the last name below is the person primarily responsible for approving this Credit Rating.

Gloria Tsuen, CFA VP - Senior Credit Officer Corporate Finance Group Moody's Investors Service Hong Kong Ltd. 24/F One Pacific Place 88 Queensway Hong Kong China (Hong Kong S.A.R.) JOURNALISTS: 852 3758 1350 Client Service: 852 3551 3077 Chris Park Associate Managing Director Corporate Finance Group JOURNALISTS: 852 3758 1350 Client Service: 852 3551 3077 Releasing Office: Moody's Investors Service Hong Kong Ltd. 24/F One Pacific Place 88 Queensway Hong Kong China (Hong Kong S.A.R.) JOURNALISTS: 852 3758 1350 Client Service: 852 3551 3077

© 2020 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 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.

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 $2,700,000. 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 JPY250,000,000.

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

​​​​​​​​