S&P release on Navios Maritime Holdings

Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said yesterday that it had revised its outlook on Greece-based dry-bulk shipping company Navios Maritime Holdings Inc (Navios) to positive from stable. At the same time the ‘BB-‘ corporate credit ratings on the company were affirmed. In addition, the senior unsecured debt rating was raised to ‘B+’ from ‘B’. «The rating actions reflect the potential for an upgrade if Navios continues to operate with low financial gearing levels and maintains good earnings visibility through time charter arrangements,» said Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Andreas Kindahl. The ratings reflect the dry-bulk shipping sector’s below-average industry characteristics; expectations of an aggressive financial profile over the cycle, as a result of the company’s high growth ambitions and high capital intensiveness; and some exposure toward short-term speculative derivatives trading. These risks are balanced by Navios’s high level of medium-term contract coverage, its solid reputation as a quality operator and its modern, high-quality vessel fleet. The company currently strongly benefits from exceptionally strong industry conditions. The positive outlook reflects Navios’s much improved financial profile, which is a result of its solid operating performance, asset disposals, and repeated conversion of warrants into equity over the past year. If Navios is able and willing to operate with lower financial gearing on a permanent basis, while maintaining its good operating track record and high levels of charter coverage, the ratings could be raised.