Anheuser-Busch InBev NV’s senior unsecured debt ratings have been cut by Moody’s to ‘Baa1’ from ‘A3’, putting the world’s largest beermaker 3 steps from junk.
AB InBev’s liabilities had dramatically increased in part due to its 2016 acquisition of SABMiller. The company’s debt level is currently about 5 times of its EBITDA, a measure of earnings, as plunging emerging-market currencies sapped profits for the beer giant. Moody’s warned that the brewer’s borrowings will remain high relative to its cash flow for the next few years as it struggles to trim its US$100 billion debt pile. This is despite AB InBev deciding to slash dividend payouts to shareholders by half. The ratings agency expects that the company will decrease its leverage to about 4 times of EBITDA in the next years and will further lower AB InBev’s credit rating if it cannot cut this ratio to 4.5 or lower by the end of 2020.