Fitch rates Kraft's offering BBB+, 'negative' outlook

by FoodBusinessNews.net Staff
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CHICAGO — Fitch Ratings has given Kraft Foods Inc.’s proposed $3.5 billion senior unsecured notes offering in five tranches a BBB+ rating.

Kraft plans to issue $250 million in three-year floating-rate notes, $250 million in three-year fixed notes, $750 million in 5.5-year fixed-rate notes, $1.5 billion in 10-year fixed-rate notes and $750 million in 30-year fixed-rate bonds.

The rating outlook is negative.

"Kraft’s credit ratings recognize Kraft’s prominent size and scale within the global packaged foods industry, its leading market share positions in key categories and its strong brand equities," Fitch said. "However, Kraft is struggling to achieve market share in more than half of its U.S. businesses. In addition, the company is facing significant margin pressure due to commodity cost inflation in key areas such as dairy. Despite some gains in pricing and productivity, Kraft has not fully offset higher input costs and investments in product quality."

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