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Moody’s, Fitch Downgrade Forward Air Debt; Stock Decline Now Above 90%

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Its stock having declined nearly 91% since the end of July, Forward Air now has been hit with two more downgrades of its debt rating.

Moody’s Ratings last week downgraded the ratings of ClueOpCo, a wholly owned subsidiary of Forward Air (NASDAQ: FWRD) that was created following the so-far-disastrous acquisition of Omni Logistics last year. The Moody’s (NYSE: MCO) action took down the corporate family rating of ClueOpCo to B2 from Ba3. That is a decline of two steps in one action, when a one-step increase or decline tends to be the norm.

The Moody’s action also downgraded the ratings of Forward Air’s senior secured first lien term loan, which as of early last week was trading at an equivalent of an 11.5% yield though its face value is a 9.5% yield. The rating on that loan was also cut to B2 from Ba3.

So @CarwashGuerilla asked me about $FWRD bonds. Seek and ye shall find: somebody who knows said the 9.50% bond maturing 10/15/31 currently has an offer of $91.25, which would equate to an 11.5% yield. For perspective, high yield bond fund $BRHYX has a yield of 7.1%. pic.twitter.com/0U6N6kMfUZ

— John Kingston (@JohnHKingston) May 22, 2024

But the outlook for the Forward Air debt at Moody’s was changed to negative from stable. A more common scenario is that a company that had been on a negative outlook and sees its rating downgraded will then see its outlook changed to stable, with the idea that the new lower rating more accurately reflects the company’s prospects for servicing its debts. Dropping a company two ratings and then moving it to negative from stable is a sign of deep uncertainty on the part of Moody’s.

The B2 rating at Moody’s and a Fitch rating downgrade, also last …

Full story available on Benzinga.com

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