S&P Downgrades Swissport Due to “Highly Leveraged” Owner HNA

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Ratings agency Standard & Poor’s cut Swissport’s credit rating on Tuesday as a result of its weakening outlook for HNA Group, the Swiss aviation services company’s Chinese owner. S&P cut the company’s rating one notch to B-, deeply in “junk” territory, the Financial Times reported. HNA Group acquired the Swiss airport services group at the start of 2016, and last week the ratings agency lowered its assessment of the group’s creditworthiness due to the “aggressive financial policy” and the risk of “tightening liquidity at China’s most prolific dealmaker. “Our ratings on Swissport are therefore affected by our view of HNA Group’s aggressive acquisition policy, tolerance for high leverage, and contracting liquidity burdened by significant debt maturities over the next several years,” the agency said on Tuesday. In recent months, regulators in China have also raised concerns over the level of leverage accrued by HNA and other aggressive corporate acquirers. Read more. (Subscription required.)