Coronavirus: Ford becomes largest fallen angel after S&P downgrade to junk

Ford Motor Co. was cut to junk by S&P Global Ratings as the coronavirus pandemic delivers a shock to the global auto industry and renders the car maker the largest fallen angel to date.

File photo (REUTERS)
File photo

S&P downgraded Ford’s credit rating one notch to BB and may cut it further, according to a statement. The move follows Moody’s Investors Service, which dropped its rating for Ford for the second time in sixth months earlier Wednesday. Its two high-yield ratings will remove its $35.8 billion of debt from the Bloomberg Barclays investment-grade index at the end of the month.

Ford is one of many auto companies facing what Moody’s calls an unprecedented “credit shock," with the coronavirus outbreak also posing a major threat to peers including General Motors Co. and Volkswagen AG. But Ford is particularly at risk because of the problems it’s been having with executing an $11 billion restructuring that’s yet to improve performance.

The cost to protect Ford’s debt against default for five years has soared this month more than fourfold, though it’s come down this week. Its bonds due 2025 trade around 78 cents on the dollar.

“Ford is managing through the coronavirus crisis in a way that safeguards our business, our workforce, our customers and our dealers," the company said in an emailed statement. “We plan to emerge from this crisis as a stronger company."

First Published Date: 26 Mar 2020, 09:20 AM IST
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