FCA nears investment grade after Moody’s upgrade


Moody’s Investors Service said it upgraded Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ credit rating to one level below investment grade.

“FCA’s upgrade reflects the continued improvements in its credit metrics and Moody’s expectation that FCA will be able to sustain these credit metrics even in a more challenging environment with softening demand in some of its key markets and additional costs to comply with upcoming emission requirements,” Moody’s analyst Falk Frey said in a statement Wednesday.

S&P Global Ratings raised FCA’s rating to a similar level in February. Fitch, another credit rating service, upgraded FCA to investment grade in November.

Investment-grade ratings from S&P and Moody’s would open the door to further investor confidence in the automaker, which is completing its first 12 months under the leadership of CEO Mike Manley.

Moody’s said FCA’s reduced debt and improved profitability in North America led to the upgrade. Moody’s concluded FCA could be less affected than other companies by possible tariffs between the U.S. and China or Europe because of the automaker’s small market share in China and small share of vehicles imported from Europe.

FCA said its first-quarter adjusted net earnings fell 41 percent to 570 million euros ($637 million) while total revenue slipped 5 percent to 24.5 billion euros ($27.4 billion). The automaker has stuck by its 2019 forecast of adjusted earnings of 6.7 billion euros ($7.5 billion).

An FCA spokesman told Automotive News that the company had no further comment beyond Moody’s analysis.

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