Levi Strauss's bonds (rated BB- by S&P, coupon 11.625) have recently droped in price to about 83 due to accusations of accounting fraud by two former employees. The company denies there is any fraud of course. Does anyone have any insight into this? Are these accusations a concern? http://www.newsday.com/business/nationworld/wire/sns-ap-levis-bonds,0,2925426.story?coll=sns-ap-business-headlinesthanks for any information,Chris
http://ir.10kwizard.com/filing.php?repo=tenk&ipage=2012664&doc=1&num=33&total=697&source=224LEVI STRAUSS & CO filed this 10-K on 02/12/2003.Credit Ratings. On August 14, 2002, Moody's Investors Service downgraded our 2001 bank credit facility from “Ba3” to “B1” and our notes due 2003, 2006 and 2008 from “B2” to “Caa1.” According to a press release announcing the downgrade, Moody's based this decision on its concerns relating to our level of cash generation, our ability to refinance debt, including our 2001 bank credit facility maturing in August 2003 and our notes maturing in November 2003, and our ability to pay costs associated with plant closures we undertook in 2002. On November 25, 2002, Moody's upgraded our outlook from negative to stable and announced it would upgrade its ratings for our notes due 2003, 2006 and 2008 to “B3” upon completion of the issuance of the $425.0 million senior notes payable on December 4, 2002. On January 7, 2003, Moody's upgraded our senior unsecured debt ratings to “B3” from “Caa1.” The “B2” senior implied rating and the “B1” rating on our 2001 bank credit facility were confirmed. On November 12, 2002, Standard and Poor's Ratings Service downgraded our long-term corporate credit rating from “BB” to “BB-” and our 2001 bank credit facility from “BB+” to “BB,” while reaffirming our senior unsecured debt rating as “BB-” and upgraded our outlook from negative to stable. According to a press release announcing its action, Standard and Poor's based this decision on its expectation that our credit measures will not improve significantly in the near term. Standard and Poor's expressed concerns relating to our entry into the mass channel, including significant execution risk associated with logistics, production and delivery response to serve the mass channel, the potential effect on our brand franchise, and the potential reaction of our existing retailers. Standard and Poor's also noted that the ratings reflected our leveraged financial profile, the highly competitive nature of our industry, and the inherent fashion risk in our industry.
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