AstraZeneca PLC Can't Convince S&P, Credit Outlook Slashed

Published: Apr 09, 2013

Standard & Poor's cut its credit outlook for AstraZeneca (AZN.L) to negative from stable on Monday in response to a major strategy update by the drugmaker's new chief executive last month. The ratings agency said it did not believe the new strategy would halt the downward trend in revenues following patent expires on many of the company's top-selling medicines. "This could lead to a downgrade if the new management cannot stabilize key credit metrics in the short term," S&P said. The squeeze on profits could see the ratio of funds from operations (FFO) to net debt falling below 60 percent, which S&P said was the minimum level needed to justify the current long- and short-term credit ratings of AA-/A-1+.

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