Click here to close now.




















Welcome!

News Feed Item

Fitch Rates AT&T's Senior Unsecured Notes Offering 'A'; Outlook Negative

Fitch Ratings has assigned an 'A' rating to AT&T Inc.'s (AT&T) offering of $2.25 billion of senior unsecured notes due 2016. The offering consists of $1 billion 0.9% fixed rate notes and $1.25 billion of floating rate notes. Proceeds are expected to be used for general corporate purposes. AT&T's Issuer Default rating (IDR) is 'A', and the Rating Outlook is Negative.

Key Rating Drivers

The rating is supported by:

--AT&T's financial flexibility;

--The company's diversified revenue mix;

--Its significant size and economies of scale as the largest telecommunications operator in the U.S.; and

--Fitch's expectation that AT&T will benefit from continued growth in wireless operating cash flows.

The following concern is embedded in the rating:

--The Negative Outlook reflects Fitch's expectation that AT&T's net leverage is likely to move up to a 1.8x upper boundary for leverage, which represents a notable increase from the 1.5x level over the past couple of years.

AT&T's increased leverage is expected to arise from the combined effects of a moderate increase in wireless and wireline capital spending and the continuation of the company's share repurchase program as announced in early November 2012. Prospective leverage expectations are subject to uncertainty caused by the rate of stock repurchases, actual capital expenditure levels, possible acquisitions (such as longer-term spectrum needs) and asset divestitures (of which there are none in Fitch's expectations).

In January 2013, AT&T announced two transactions to improve its wireless spectrum position. Subject to regulatory approval, AT&T will acquire certain rural wireless assets and spectrum from Atlantic Tele-Network, Inc. for $780 million in cash. Additionally, the company has a pending transaction to acquire certain B-block 700 MHz licenses from Verizon Wireless for $1.9 billion in cash and certain Advanced Wireless Services spectrum licenses in several markets. In Fitch's view, the proposed acquisitions are strategically sound as they are supportive of wireless growth. The transactions, if completed, are not currently expected to push the company's credit metrics above the 1.8x net leverage level.

For 2013, Fitch expects AT&T's gross leverage to approximate 1.7x, flat with 2012 (excluding the actuarial losses on its benefit plans). Net leverage in 2012 was 1.58x. Over the next few years, AT&T's continuation of stock repurchases will require some borrowing as repurchases will be above FCF levels. Leverage will rise, with net leverage expected to peak near a 1.8x upper boundary in 2014. Thereafter, leverage is expected to decline over time.

In Fitch's view, liquidity is strong and provided by the company's FCF; additional financial flexibility is provided by availability on the company's revolving credit facilities. At Dec. 31, 2012, total debt outstanding was approximately $69.8 billion, a $5 billion rise from the $64.8 billion outstanding at the end of 2011. Of the total amount outstanding, $3.5 billion consists of debt due within one year, including debt that can be put to the company. At Dec. 31, 2012, cash amounted to $4.9 billion, and for 2012, AT&T produced $9.2 billion in FCF (net cash provided by operating activities less capital expenditures and dividends), an amount short of the $12.8 billion in stock repurchases during the year. Fitch expects FCF to decline from $9.2 billion in 2012 to $4 billion annually, on average, over the next three years.

At end of 2012, the company did not have any drawings on its revolving credit facilities. The principal financial covenant for the 2016 and 2017 facilities requires debt to EBITDA, as defined, to be no more than 3x.

Relative to the company's expected free cash flows, upcoming debt maturities are manageable. In 2013, debt maturities approximate $3.4 billion, including approximately $1.6 billion in debt that may be put to the company. Maturities amount to $3.8 billion in 2014.

Rating Sensitivities

The Rating Outlook could be revised to Stable if:

--The company steadily manages net leverage down from Fitch's expected peak just under 1.8x in 2014;

--Fitch believes leverage will not reach peak levels as a result of the outcome of the following factors, including, but not limited to, stronger operating results, lower capital spending, and the effect of any acquisitions or divestitures that may occur.

A negative rating action could occur if:

--Net leverage remains above (or is expected to remain above) the 1.8x level for several quarters, including expected leverage resulting from a material transaction;

--Fitch believes management has weakened its commitment to returning to, or operating longer-term with, leverage at a level more reflective of the rating.

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

http://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=684460

Rating Telecom Companies

http://www.fitchratings.com/creditdesk/reports/report_frame.cfm?rpt_id=682323

ALL FITCH CREDIT RATINGS ARE SUBJECT TO CERTAIN LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS. PLEASE READ THESE LIMITATIONS AND DISCLAIMERS BY FOLLOWING THIS LINK: HTTP://FITCHRATINGS.COM/UNDERSTANDINGCREDITRATINGS. IN ADDITION, RATING DEFINITIONS AND THE TERMS OF USE OF SUCH RATINGS ARE AVAILABLE ON THE AGENCY'S PUBLIC WEBSITE 'WWW.FITCHRATINGS.COM'. PUBLISHED RATINGS, CRITERIA AND METHODOLOGIES ARE AVAILABLE FROM THIS SITE AT ALL TIMES. FITCH'S CODE OF CONDUCT, CONFIDENTIALITY, CONFLICTS OF INTEREST, AFFILIATE FIREWALL, COMPLIANCE AND OTHER RELEVANT POLICIES AND PROCEDURES ARE ALSO AVAILABLE FROM THE 'CODE OF CONDUCT' SECTION OF THIS SITE.

More Stories By Business Wire

Copyright © 2009 Business Wire. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of Business Wire content is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Business Wire. Business Wire shall not be liable for any errors or delays in the content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

Latest Stories
Learn how to solve the problem of keeping files in sync between multiple Docker containers. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Aaron Brongersma, Senior Infrastructure Engineer at Modulus, discussed using rsync, GlusterFS, EBS and Bit Torrent Sync. He broke down the tools that are needed to help create a seamless user experience. In the end, can we have an environment where we can easily move Docker containers, servers, and volumes without impacting our applications? He shared his results so yo...
Palerra, the cloud security automation company, announced enhanced support for Amazon AWS, allowing IT security and DevOps teams to automate activity and configuration monitoring, anomaly detection, and orchestrated remediation, thereby meeting compliance mandates within complex infrastructure deployments. "Monitoring and threat detection for AWS is a non-trivial task. While Amazon's flexible environment facilitates successful DevOps implementations, it adds another layer, which can become a ...
With SaaS use rampant across organizations, how can IT departments track company data and maintain security? More and more departments are commissioning their own solutions and bypassing IT. A cloud environment is amorphous and powerful, allowing you to set up solutions for all of your user needs: document sharing and collaboration, mobile access, e-mail, even industry-specific applications. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Shawn Mills, President and a founder of Green House Data, discussed h...
The Software Defined Data Center (SDDC), which enables organizations to seamlessly run in a hybrid cloud model (public + private cloud), is here to stay. IDC estimates that the software-defined networking market will be valued at $3.7 billion by 2016. Security is a key component and benefit of the SDDC, and offers an opportunity to build security 'from the ground up' and weave it into the environment from day one. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Reuven Harrison, CTO and Co-Founder of Tufin,...
There are many considerations when moving applications from on-premise to cloud. It is critical to understand the benefits and also challenges of this migration. A successful migration will result in lower Total Cost of Ownership, yet offer the same or higher level of robustness. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Michael Meiner, an Engineering Director at Oracle, Corporation, analyzed a range of cloud offerings (IaaS, PaaS, SaaS) and discussed the benefits/challenges of migrating to each offe...
SYS-CON Events announced today that MobiDev, a software development company, will exhibit at the 17th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place November 3–5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. MobiDev is a software development company with representative offices in Atlanta (US), Sheffield (UK) and Würzburg (Germany); and development centers in Ukraine. Since 2009 it has grown from a small group of passionate engineers and business managers to a full-scale mobi...
Chuck Piluso presented a study of cloud adoption trends and the power and flexibility of IBM Power and Pureflex cloud solutions. Prior to Secure Infrastructure and Services, Mr. Piluso founded North American Telecommunication Corporation, a facilities-based Competitive Local Exchange Carrier licensed by the Public Service Commission in 10 states, serving as the company's chairman and president from 1997 to 2000. Between 1990 and 1997, Mr. Piluso served as chairman & founder of International Te...
Mobile, social, Big Data, and cloud have fundamentally changed the way we live. “Anytime, anywhere” access to data and information is no longer a luxury; it’s a requirement, in both our personal and professional lives. For IT organizations, this means pressure has never been greater to deliver meaningful services to the business and customers.
In their session at 17th Cloud Expo, Hal Schwartz, CEO of Secure Infrastructure & Services (SIAS), and Chuck Paolillo, CTO of Secure Infrastructure & Services (SIAS), provide a study of cloud adoption trends and the power and flexibility of IBM Power and Pureflex cloud solutions. In his role as CEO of Secure Infrastructure & Services (SIAS), Hal Schwartz provides leadership and direction for the company.
In a recent research, analyst firm IDC found that the average cost of a critical application failure is $500,000 to $1 million per hour and the average total cost of unplanned application downtime is $1.25 billion to $2.5 billion per year for Fortune 1000 companies. In addition to the findings on the cost of the downtime, the research also highlighted best practices for development, testing, application support, infrastructure, and operations teams.
Puppet Labs has announced the next major update to its flagship product: Puppet Enterprise 2015.2. This release includes new features providing DevOps teams with clarity, simplicity and additional management capabilities, including an all-new user interface, an interactive graph for visualizing infrastructure code, a new unified agent and broader infrastructure support.
For IoT to grow as quickly as analyst firms’ project, a lot is going to fall on developers to quickly bring applications to market. But the lack of a standard development platform threatens to slow growth and make application development more time consuming and costly, much like we’ve seen in the mobile space. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Mike Weiner, Product Manager of the Omega DevCloud with KORE Telematics Inc., discussed the evolving requirements for developers as IoT matures and conducte...
Container technology is sending shock waves through the world of cloud computing. Heralded as the 'next big thing,' containers provide software owners a consistent way to package their software and dependencies while infrastructure operators benefit from a standard way to deploy and run them. Containers present new challenges for tracking usage due to their dynamic nature. They can also be deployed to bare metal, virtual machines and various cloud platforms. How do software owners track the usag...
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In his session at @ThingsExpo, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Arch...
Providing the needed data for application development and testing is a huge headache for most organizations. The problems are often the same across companies - speed, quality, cost, and control. Provisioning data can take days or weeks, every time a refresh is required. Using dummy data leads to quality problems. Creating physical copies of large data sets and sending them to distributed teams of developers eats up expensive storage and bandwidth resources. And, all of these copies proliferating...