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S&P downgrades Americanas to ‘D’ from default


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S&P Global downgraded Americanas’ credit rating from “B” (on the global scale) and from “brA-” (on the Brazilian national scale) to “D”, which means a default situation (default), according to a report released this Monday (16).

The agency’s analysts mention that the change in the rating note occurs after the company received an urgent order from the Court, which suspended for 30 days the blocking of the company’s assets by creditors and the execution of debts, including the payment of interest.

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“In our view, although the guardianship still does not represent a judicial recovery, it is an initial step towards it”, write the analysts.

“This precautionary measure can be used in preparation for an eventual judicial recovery of the debt. If Americanas does not follow this path, the other possibility, in our opinion, would be to reach an agreement with the creditors to restructure its debt, which we would consider a ‘default’ in fact, given the company’s current stressful conditions,” the statement continued.

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Sérgio Rial, former president of the company, was officially replaced this Monday in the task of trying to calm creditor banks and investors

In addition, the analysis by S&P Global mentions that the company announced on Monday the hiring of Rothschild & Co to renegotiate all its debt.

Also according to the statement, governance factors have a very negative impact on Americanas’ credit rating analysis.

“The company announced accounting inconsistencies of BRL 20 billion (compared to balance sheet financial debt of BRL 24 billion), which, in our view, indicates serious governance failures.”

Analysts also point out that the company pointed out that these inconsistencies had existed for several years, “indicating low levels of transparency and deficiencies in the company’s internal controls and risk management.”

On Friday, S&P had reduced Americanas’ rating from ‘BB’, one notch below investment level, to ‘B’ and put the rating on negative perspective, signaling that further cuts would be possible in the short term.

The Fitch risk agency had also downgraded Americanas’ credit rating, on the global scale, from “BB” to “CC”, and from “AA+(bra)” to “CC(bra)” on the national scale, two levels above the default threshold (“D”).

As a reflection, the retailer’s shares returned to melt this Monday, following the uncertainties about the company’s future. Americanas common shares (AMER3) fell 38.41%, quoted at R$ 1.94.

Last Friday, the share closed at R$3.15, with investors still trying to understand what would happen to the company in the following days.

Founded in 1929, Americanas has a diversified portfolio of products, including electronics, home appliances, furniture, UD, toys, clothing and food. Online operations generate 50%-60% of total sales.

The company’s revelation of accounting inconsistencies of approximately R$ 20 billion mobilized accounting specialists who are trying to understand how a gap of this size went unnoticed in one of the largest retail companies in Latin America.

Accounting specialists interviewed by the Reuters news agency say they maintain a degree of skepticism about the explanations disclosed so far and point to a lack of detail in the company’s balance sheet, although they have highlighted the need to disclose more information about the inconsistencies, including with regard to the origin of the facts.

With Reuters

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