No. of Recommendations: 1
The following is a press release from Standard & Poor's:

NEW YORK (Standard & Poor's) June 14, 2011--Standard & Poor's Ratings Services
said today that its ratings and outlook on Sara Lee Corp. (BBB/Stable/A-2) are
not affected by the company's announcement that it intends to spin off its
international coffee and tea business, instead of its North America retail and
foodservice business as previously indicated. The remaining North America
retail and foodservice business includes a variety of packaged meat and frozen
bakery products under brand names including Hillshire Farm, Jimmy Dean, Ball
Park, and Sara Lee, as well as other foodservice labels.

Our assumptions include:

-- We believe the North America Retail entity will continue to have a
satisfactory business risk profile, albeit somewhat weaker than the
consolidated Sara Lee's current business risk profile due to our belief that
the remaining entity will have a more narrow business and geographic focus.
However, it is our opinion that stronger expected credit measures and a more
conservative financial profile will offset the weaker business profile.
-- Following the planned spin-off, we expect the North America Retail
entity to maintain adjusted leverage near 2x or below, and forgo share
repurchases. We believe Sara Lee will need to make significant debt reduction
to achieve its stated goal of 2x leverage at the remaining North America
Retail entity.
-- We assume the company will maintain adequate liquidity, as defined in
our Criteria (See "Methodology And Assumptions: Standard & Poor's Standardizes
Liquidity Descriptors For Global Corporate Issuers," published July 2, 2010,
on RatingsDirect.)
-- We could revise the outlook to negative if the company is unable to
achieve and sustain leverage of 2x or below and/or if financial policies
become more aggressive. If we revise the outlook to negative at the current
'BBB' rating level, we would lower the 'A-2' short-term corporate credit and
commercial paper ratings to 'A-3'.

Prior to the spin-off, we expect consolidated Sara Lee to maintain credit
measures close to our 'BBB' rating category medians, including a ratio of
total debt to EBITDA approaching 2.5x, despite the expectations that
commodities will remain volatile. We estimate the ratio of consolidated total
debt to EBITDA was high at about 3x for the 12 months ending April 2, 2011,
but expect leverage to decline close to 2.5x at fiscal year end June 2011 from
anticipated debt repayment.

The company's senior unsecured notes remain on CreditWatch, where they were
placed with negative implications on Jan. 28, 2011, reflecting our concern
that this debt may be structurally subordinated to obligations at the
operating company. In accordance with our criteria, a downgrade would be
limited to one notch below the company's current investment-grade corporate
credit rating. We currently do not have sufficient information to conduct our
notching analysis related to structural subordination for issue-level ratings.
Sara Lee has stated that it is developing detailed implementation plans for
the spin-off and will continue to evaluate a variety of methods to enhance the
efficiency of the operating structure of the two companies. We will complete
our analysis based on where assets, liabilities, and cash flow reside within
the final legal organizational structure at the remaining entity.


http://www.morningstar.co.uk/uk/markets/newsfeeditem.aspx?id...
Print the post  

Announcements

What was Your Dumbest Investment?
Share it with us -- and learn from others' stories of flubs.
When Life Gives You Lemons
We all have had hardships and made poor decisions. The important thing is how we respond and grow. Read the story of a Fool who started from nothing, and looks to gain everything.
Contact Us
Contact Customer Service and other Fool departments here.
Work for Fools?
Winner of the Washingtonian great places to work, and Glassdoor #1 Company to Work For 2015! Have access to all of TMF's online and email products for FREE, and be paid for your contributions to TMF! Click the link and start your Fool career.