|By Business Wire||
|February 1, 2013 11:04 AM EST||
Fitch Ratings has downgraded the Issuer Default Rating (IDR) for Cogeco Cable Inc. (Cogeco) to 'BB+' from 'BBB-'. The long-term rating for the secured notes are affirmed at 'BBB-'. Fitch has removed Cogeco from Rating Watch Negative.
The Rating Outlook is Stable.
Fitch has downgraded Cogeco's IDR due to the further deterioration in the company's credit profile resulting from closing its more recent debt financed acquisition. Consequently, debt has increased pro forma for the acquisitions to 3.6 times (x) excluding the non-guaranteed debt at Atlantic Broadband (ABB). Cogeco's leverage at the November 2012 closing of the ABB acquisition was 2.7x, an increase from 1.8x. The long-term leverage expectations for Cogeco ratings at the 'BBB-' level was leverage of approximately 2.5x or less. Fitch does not expect Cogeco will reduce leverage back to this range within the next 12-15 months although leverage should reduce going forward due to both cash flow growth and debt repayment but remain above 3x at year-end 2013.
The 'BB+' ratings reflect Cogeco Cable's stable operating profile and the strength of the Canadian operations that generate the majority of the company's revenue and cash flow. Fitch believes that the Canadian operations are well supported by Cogeco Cable's competitive position anchored by its high speed internet and triple play offering. The cable systems are also clustered in less concentrated and generally less competitive suburban regions.
The PEER 1 Network Enterprises Inc. (PEER 1) acquisition offers a diversified faster growing revenue stream although it has some elevated execution risk as Cogeco pursues growth and investment opportunities outside of their traditional cable footprint. PEER 1's core business of managed services and web hosting is highly and increasingly competitive. PEER 1 focuses on delivering quality service and support to differentiate from competition that is mainly from managed and dedicated cloud providers along with local and regional operators. PEER 1 has a relatively large SMB customer base with no customer representing more than 5% of revenues.
Fitch does not expect PEER 1 operations to contribute meaningful free cash flow during the next several years given the higher capital intensity rates and need to further scale the operations. Thus PEER 1 could require additional working capital to support ongoing operations and expansion. LTM EBITDA and capital spending were both approximately CAD40 million.
Cogeco's strategic shift in pursuing its last two acquisitions is a result of the maturing of cable services and the competitive intensity that has lowered growth prospects for the cable operations. The competitive intensity in Canada is expected to increase with additional IPTV footprint expansion through fiber-to-the-home overbuilds in a material portion of Cogeco's regions. This will increase the pressure on primary service unit additions which have been decreasing due to factors mentioned above along with economic uncertainty and the tightening of credit controls. Fitch believes Cogeco also needs to upgrade technology supporting its video offering to better match capabilities with the telco's IPTV video service.
Cogeco should be able to mitigate revenue pressure through rate increases and SMB primary service unit additions which will become an increasingly important offset. In addition, the enterprise services segment provides a growing diversified revenue stream with good margins. Cogeco's capital spending intensity has been elevated relative to its peers due to success-based spending within this segment.
Cogeco used a material portion of its liquidity position to close the ABB acquisition. Cogeco's main sources of liquidity are through its credit facilities, cash position, and free cash flow (FCF). As of Nov. 30, 2012, Cogeco Cable had drawn down CAD584 million on its CAD750 million credit facility due 2017 and had CAD9 million of cash. In connection with the PEER 1 closing, Cogeco entered into new acquisition facilities. This includes a four year CAD250 million secured revolving credit facility and a four year approximately CAD equivalent $400 million secured term loan as a portion of the draw was in US dollars.
Going forward, Fitch expects Cogeco will restore at least a portion of its liquidity position using FCF to pay down the revolver over the next couple of years. Free cash flow (FCF) for the fiscal year 2012 was CAD42 million after dividend payment. Cogeco's current FCF guidance (excluding PEER 1) after dividend payment for FY2013 is in excess of CAD100 million.
Cogeco's conservative financial policies also support its current ratings. The company does not have an active share program. Additionally the most recent dividend increase of 4% is lower than in the past reflecting in part the increased leverage resulting from the acquisition.
Importantly, Fitch believes the new ABB subsidiary should be in a self-funding position. This is supported by ABB's current cash generation, a substantial tax shield related to net operating losses, a competitive environment with limited triple play competition and the expected growth from increasing underpenetrated services. ABB will increase success-based capital spending which should improve its competitive position relative to satellite operators which is the primary competitor in approximately three quarters of its markets.
Negative: Future developments that may, individually or collectively, lead to negative rating include:
--Cogeco Cable leverage stays in the mid 3.5x range reflecting lack of cash flow growth and debt reduction;
--An additional material leveraging transaction;
--Greater than expected IPTV competition in Cogeco Cable territory that adversely affects operating trends;
--Negative operating trends in the Atlantic Broadband operations that requires Cogeco Cable to infuse additional funding;
--Large debt-financed acquisition;
--Reduced free cash flow prospects.
Positive: Future developments that may, individually or collectively, lead to positive rating include:
--Cogeco Cable leverage improves to less than 2.5x due to strong cash growth and debt reduction;
--Good operating trends across its three business segments;
--Pre-dividend FCF to sales of greater than 10%;
--Financial policy to maintain leverage below 2.5x.
Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'. The ratings above were solicited by, or on behalf of, the issuer, and therefore, Fitch has been compensated for the provision of the ratings.
Applicable Criteria and Related Research:
--'Corporate Rating Methodology' (Aug. 8, 2012);
--'Rating Telecom Companies: Sector Credit Factors' (Aug. 9, 2012).
Applicable Criteria and Related Research:
Corporate Rating Methodology
Rating Telecom Companies
"We host and fully manage cloud data services, whether we store, the data, move the data, or run analytics on the data," stated Kamal Shannak, Senior Development Manager, Cloud Data Services, IBM, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 28, 2016 04:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,354
With the proliferation of both SQL and NoSQL databases, organizations can now target specific fit-for-purpose database tools for their different application needs regarding scalability, ease of use, ACID support, etc. Platform as a Service offerings make this even easier now, enabling developers to roll out their own database infrastructure in minutes with minimal management overhead. However, this same amount of flexibility also comes with the challenges of picking the right tool, on the right ...
Jul. 28, 2016 04:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,258
DevOps at Cloud Expo – being held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Am...
Jul. 28, 2016 03:45 AM EDT Reads: 2,317
"This week we're really focusing on scalability, asset preservation and how do you back up to the cloud and in the cloud with object storage, which is really a new way of attacking dealing with your file, your blocked data, where you put it and how you access it," stated Jeff Greenwald, Senior Director of Market Development at HGST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 28, 2016 03:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,580
The 19th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Digital Transformation, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportuni...
Jul. 28, 2016 03:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,635
Large scale deployments present unique planning challenges, system commissioning hurdles between IT and OT and demand careful system hand-off orchestration. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Jeff Smith, Senior Director and a founding member of Incenergy, will discuss some of the key tactics to ensure delivery success based on his experience of the last two years deploying Industrial IoT systems across four continents.
Jul. 28, 2016 03:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,617
“We're a global managed hosting provider. Our core customer set is a U.S.-based customer that is looking to go global,” explained Adam Rogers, Managing Director at ANEXIA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 28, 2016 02:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,795
The Internet of Things will challenge the status quo of how IT and development organizations operate. Or will it? Certainly the fog layer of IoT requires special insights about data ontology, security and transactional integrity. But the developmental challenges are the same: People, Process and Platform. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Craig Sproule, CEO of Metavine, demonstrated how to move beyond today's coding paradigm and shared the must-have mindsets for removing complexity from the develo...
Jul. 28, 2016 02:30 AM EDT Reads: 1,541
SYS-CON Events announced today that MangoApps will exhibit at the 19th International Cloud Expo, which will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MangoApps provides modern company intranets and team collaboration software, allowing workers to stay connected and productive from anywhere in the world and from any device.
Jul. 28, 2016 02:15 AM EDT Reads: 1,400
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effi...
Jul. 28, 2016 02:00 AM EDT Reads: 2,055
The IETF draft standard for M2M certificates is a security solution specifically designed for the demanding needs of IoT/M2M applications. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Brian Romansky, VP of Strategic Technology at TrustPoint Innovation, explained how M2M certificates can efficiently enable confidentiality, integrity, and authenticity on highly constrained devices.
Jul. 28, 2016 01:45 AM EDT Reads: 1,105
In today's uber-connected, consumer-centric, cloud-enabled, insights-driven, multi-device, global world, the focus of solutions has shifted from the product that is sold to the person who is buying the product or service. Enterprises have rebranded their business around the consumers of their products. The buyer is the person and the focus is not on the offering. The person is connected through multiple devices, wearables, at home, on the road, and in multiple locations, sometimes simultaneously...
Jul. 28, 2016 01:15 AM EDT Reads: 844
“delaPlex Software provides software outsourcing services. We have a hybrid model where we have onshore developers and project managers that we can place anywhere in the U.S. or in Europe,” explained Manish Sachdeva, CEO at delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 28, 2016 01:00 AM EDT Reads: 1,621
Keeping pace with advancements in software delivery processes and tooling is taxing even for the most proficient organizations. Point tools, platforms, open source and the increasing adoption of private and public cloud services requires strong engineering rigor – all in the face of developer demands to use the tools of choice. As Agile has settled in as a mainstream practice, now DevOps has emerged as the next wave to improve software delivery speed and output. To make DevOps work, organization...
Jul. 28, 2016 12:15 AM EDT Reads: 2,249
"We've discovered that after shows 80% if leads that people get, 80% of the conversations end up on the show floor, meaning people forget about it, people forget who they talk to, people forget that there are actual business opportunities to be had here so we try to help out and keep the conversations going," explained Jeff Mesnik, Founder and President of ContentMX, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
Jul. 27, 2016 10:30 PM EDT Reads: 1,410