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Fitch & Moody’s cut Boeing’s debt outlook over 737 MAX crisis

Fitch & Moody’s cut Boeing’s debt outlook over 737 MAX crisis
International rating agencies Fitch and Moody’s have downgraded their outlooks for Boeing from “stable” to “negative,” citing uncertainty and delays in the plane maker’s 737 MAX jets’ return to service.

The revision follows Boeing’s nearly $5 billion in quarterly losses related to the grounding of the jets over two recent deadly crashes. “The MAX situation also presents significant public relations challenges, and the impact on Boeing’s reputation and brand will be a watch item for the next year or more,”  said Fitch.

It estimates that consolidated debt for the company will rise by almost $10 billion to nearly $24 billion in 2019. The agency noted that debt will begin to decline once deliveries resume.

Also on rt.com Grounding of 737 MAX after two deadly crashes will cost Boeing $5 billion to date

“The 737 MAX will remain a concern throughout the aviation credit sector into 2020. The 737 MAX situation will reduce much of the financial cushion Boeing has at the current ‘A’ rating, leaving the company more exposed to other unforeseen events or industry developments.”

Fitch said the outlook revision was also based on the challenge of returning parked planes to service, delivering stored post-production aircraft and the financing needed to build up working capital.

Meanwhile, Moody’s said the grounding of the company’s 737 MAX aircraft will run longer than expected, which will compound its operational disruption, costs and the size of the investment in working capital.

“The negative outlook also contemplates the execution risk in returning the narrow-body franchise to normalcy following the grounding’s end, which remains uncertain, and the timeframe for repaying the debt incurred to fund the grounding and restore confidence in the all-important MAX program, and in Boeing, more broadly,” the ratings agency said.

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Many global airlines have grounded their fleets of Boeing 737 MAX aircraft since mid-March, following crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia that killed 346 people.

The US-based airplane manufacturer said it had been forced to cut future services because of uncertainty over the timing of deliveries of 737 MAX planes.

Following the outlook cuts, Boeing’s stock lost one percent during Monday’s trading in the US to close at $373.42 a share.

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