|By Business Wire||
|February 1, 2013 11:04 AM EST||
Fitch Ratings has downgraded the Issuer Default Rating (IDR) for Cogeco Cable Inc. (Cogeco) to 'BB+' from 'BBB-'. The long-term rating for the secured notes are affirmed at 'BBB-'. Fitch has removed Cogeco from Rating Watch Negative.
The Rating Outlook is Stable.
Fitch has downgraded Cogeco's IDR due to the further deterioration in the company's credit profile resulting from closing its more recent debt financed acquisition. Consequently, debt has increased pro forma for the acquisitions to 3.6 times (x) excluding the non-guaranteed debt at Atlantic Broadband (ABB). Cogeco's leverage at the November 2012 closing of the ABB acquisition was 2.7x, an increase from 1.8x. The long-term leverage expectations for Cogeco ratings at the 'BBB-' level was leverage of approximately 2.5x or less. Fitch does not expect Cogeco will reduce leverage back to this range within the next 12-15 months although leverage should reduce going forward due to both cash flow growth and debt repayment but remain above 3x at year-end 2013.
The 'BB+' ratings reflect Cogeco Cable's stable operating profile and the strength of the Canadian operations that generate the majority of the company's revenue and cash flow. Fitch believes that the Canadian operations are well supported by Cogeco Cable's competitive position anchored by its high speed internet and triple play offering. The cable systems are also clustered in less concentrated and generally less competitive suburban regions.
The PEER 1 Network Enterprises Inc. (PEER 1) acquisition offers a diversified faster growing revenue stream although it has some elevated execution risk as Cogeco pursues growth and investment opportunities outside of their traditional cable footprint. PEER 1's core business of managed services and web hosting is highly and increasingly competitive. PEER 1 focuses on delivering quality service and support to differentiate from competition that is mainly from managed and dedicated cloud providers along with local and regional operators. PEER 1 has a relatively large SMB customer base with no customer representing more than 5% of revenues.
Fitch does not expect PEER 1 operations to contribute meaningful free cash flow during the next several years given the higher capital intensity rates and need to further scale the operations. Thus PEER 1 could require additional working capital to support ongoing operations and expansion. LTM EBITDA and capital spending were both approximately CAD40 million.
Cogeco's strategic shift in pursuing its last two acquisitions is a result of the maturing of cable services and the competitive intensity that has lowered growth prospects for the cable operations. The competitive intensity in Canada is expected to increase with additional IPTV footprint expansion through fiber-to-the-home overbuilds in a material portion of Cogeco's regions. This will increase the pressure on primary service unit additions which have been decreasing due to factors mentioned above along with economic uncertainty and the tightening of credit controls. Fitch believes Cogeco also needs to upgrade technology supporting its video offering to better match capabilities with the telco's IPTV video service.
Cogeco should be able to mitigate revenue pressure through rate increases and SMB primary service unit additions which will become an increasingly important offset. In addition, the enterprise services segment provides a growing diversified revenue stream with good margins. Cogeco's capital spending intensity has been elevated relative to its peers due to success-based spending within this segment.
Cogeco used a material portion of its liquidity position to close the ABB acquisition. Cogeco's main sources of liquidity are through its credit facilities, cash position, and free cash flow (FCF). As of Nov. 30, 2012, Cogeco Cable had drawn down CAD584 million on its CAD750 million credit facility due 2017 and had CAD9 million of cash. In connection with the PEER 1 closing, Cogeco entered into new acquisition facilities. This includes a four year CAD250 million secured revolving credit facility and a four year approximately CAD equivalent $400 million secured term loan as a portion of the draw was in US dollars.
Going forward, Fitch expects Cogeco will restore at least a portion of its liquidity position using FCF to pay down the revolver over the next couple of years. Free cash flow (FCF) for the fiscal year 2012 was CAD42 million after dividend payment. Cogeco's current FCF guidance (excluding PEER 1) after dividend payment for FY2013 is in excess of CAD100 million.
Cogeco's conservative financial policies also support its current ratings. The company does not have an active share program. Additionally the most recent dividend increase of 4% is lower than in the past reflecting in part the increased leverage resulting from the acquisition.
Importantly, Fitch believes the new ABB subsidiary should be in a self-funding position. This is supported by ABB's current cash generation, a substantial tax shield related to net operating losses, a competitive environment with limited triple play competition and the expected growth from increasing underpenetrated services. ABB will increase success-based capital spending which should improve its competitive position relative to satellite operators which is the primary competitor in approximately three quarters of its markets.
Negative: Future developments that may, individually or collectively, lead to negative rating include:
--Cogeco Cable leverage stays in the mid 3.5x range reflecting lack of cash flow growth and debt reduction;
--An additional material leveraging transaction;
--Greater than expected IPTV competition in Cogeco Cable territory that adversely affects operating trends;
--Negative operating trends in the Atlantic Broadband operations that requires Cogeco Cable to infuse additional funding;
--Large debt-financed acquisition;
--Reduced free cash flow prospects.
Positive: Future developments that may, individually or collectively, lead to positive rating include:
--Cogeco Cable leverage improves to less than 2.5x due to strong cash growth and debt reduction;
--Good operating trends across its three business segments;
--Pre-dividend FCF to sales of greater than 10%;
--Financial policy to maintain leverage below 2.5x.
Additional information is available at 'www.fitchratings.com'. The ratings above were solicited by, or on behalf of, the issuer, and therefore, Fitch has been compensated for the provision of the ratings.
Applicable Criteria and Related Research:
--'Corporate Rating Methodology' (Aug. 8, 2012);
--'Rating Telecom Companies: Sector Credit Factors' (Aug. 9, 2012).
Applicable Criteria and Related Research:
Corporate Rating Methodology
Rating Telecom Companies
You use an agile process; your goal is to make your organization more agile. But what about your data infrastructure? The truth is, today's databases are anything but agile - they are effectively static repositories that are cumbersome to work with, difficult to change, and cannot keep pace with application demands. Performance suffers as a result, and it takes far longer than it should to deliver new features and capabilities needed to make your organization competitive. As your application an...
May. 30, 2015 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 3,548
Want to enable self-service provisioning of application environments in minutes that mirror production? Can you automatically provide rich data with code-level detail back to the developers when issues occur in production? In his session at DevOps Summit, David Tesar, Microsoft Technical Evangelist on Microsoft Azure and DevOps, will discuss how to accomplish this and more utilizing technologies such as Microsoft Azure, Visual Studio online, and Application Insights in this demo-heavy session.
May. 30, 2015 06:00 PM EDT Reads: 5,367
As cloud gives an opportunity to businesses to buy services externally – how is cloud impacting your customers? In his General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Fabio Gori, Director of Worldwide Cloud Marketing at Cisco, provided answers to big questions: Do you see hybrid cloud as where the world is going? What benefits does it bring? And how does Cisco connect all of these clouds? He also discussed Intercloud and Cisco’s investment on it.
May. 30, 2015 05:00 PM EDT Reads: 5,880
The Internet of Things is not new. Historically, smart businesses have used its basic concept of leveraging data to drive better decision making and have capitalized on those insights to realize additional revenue opportunities. So, what has changed to make the Internet of Things one of the hottest topics in tech? In his session at @ThingsExpo, Chris Gray, Director, Embedded and Internet of Things, discussed the underlying factors that are driving the economics of intelligent systems. Discover ...
May. 30, 2015 04:00 PM EDT Reads: 6,455
Health care systems across the globe are under enormous strain, as facilities reach capacity and costs continue to rise. M2M and the Internet of Things have the potential to transform the industry through connected health solutions that can make care more efficient while reducing costs. In fact, Vodafone's annual M2M Barometer Report forecasts M2M applications rising to 57 percent in health care and life sciences by 2016. Lively is one of Vodafone's health care partners, whose solutions enable o...
May. 30, 2015 03:45 PM EDT Reads: 2,451
Andi Mann has been serving as Conference Chair of the DevOps Summit since its inception. He is one of the world's recognized leaders in DevOps, and continues to be one of its most articulate advocates. Here are some recent thoughts of his in an interview we conducted in the run-up to the DevOps Summit to be held June 9-11 at the Javits Center in New York City. When did you first start thinking about DevOps and its potential impact on enterprise IT? Andi: I first started thinking about DevOps b...
May. 30, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 716
In her General Session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anne Plese, Senior Consultant, Cloud Product Marketing, at Verizon Enterprise, focused on finding the right mix of renting vs. buying Oracle capacity to scale to meet business demands, and offer validated Oracle database TCO models for Oracle development and testing environments. Anne Plese is a marketing and technology enthusiast/realist with over 19+ years in high tech. At Verizon Enterprise, she focuses on driving growth for the Verizon Cloud platfo...
May. 30, 2015 03:00 PM EDT Reads: 5,476
The most often asked question post-DevOps introduction is: “How do I get started?” There’s plenty of information on why DevOps is valid and important, but many managers still struggle with simple basics for how to initiate a DevOps program in their business. They struggle with issues related to current organizational inertia, the lack of experience on Continuous Integration/Delivery, understanding where DevOps will affect revenue and budget, etc. In their session at DevOps Summit, JP Morgentha...
May. 30, 2015 02:30 PM EDT Reads: 756
In a recent research, analyst firm IDC found that the average cost of a critical application failure is $500,000 to $1 million per hour and the average total cost of unplanned application downtime is $1.25 billion to $2.5 billion per year for Fortune 1000 companies. In addition to the findings on the cost of the downtime, the research also highlighted best practices for development, testing, application support, infrastructure, and operations teams.
May. 30, 2015 02:15 PM EDT Reads: 1,328
SYS-CON Events announced today that MetraTech, now part of Ericsson, has been named “Silver Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Ericsson is the driving force behind the Networked Society- a world leader in communications infrastructure, software and services. Some 40% of the world’s mobile traffic runs through networks Ericsson has supplied, serving more than 2.5 billion subscribers.
May. 30, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,543
The OpenStack cloud operating system includes Trove, a database abstraction layer. Rather than applications connecting directly to a specific type of database, they connect to Trove, which in turn connects to one or more specific databases. One target database is Postgres Plus Cloud Database, which includes its own RESTful API. Trove was originally developed around MySQL, whose interfaces are significantly less complicated than those of the Postgres cloud database. In his session at 16th Cloud...
May. 30, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 1,276
How does one bridge the gap between traditional enterprise storage infrastructures and the private, hybrid, and public cloud? In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Dan Pollack, Chief Architect of Storage Operations at AOL Inc., examed the workload differences and required changes to reuse existing knowledge and components when building and using a cloud infrastructure. He also looked into the operational considerations, tool requirements, and behavioral changes required for private cloud storage s...
May. 30, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 2,832
Software is eating the world. Companies that were not previously in the technology space now find themselves competing with Google and Amazon on speed of innovation. As the innovation cycle accelerates, companies must embrace rapid and constant change to both applications and their infrastructure, and find a way to deliver speed and agility of development without sacrificing reliability or efficiency of operations. In her Day 2 Keynote DevOps Summit, Victoria Livschitz, CEO of Qubell, discussed...
May. 30, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 5,580
The speed of product development has increased massively in the past 10 years. At the same time our formal secure development and SDL methodologies have fallen behind. This forces product developers to choose between rapid release times and security. In his session at DevOps Summit, Michael Murray, Director of Cyber Security Consulting and Assessment at GE Healthcare, examined the problems and presented some solutions for moving security into the DevOps lifecycle to ensure that we get fast AND ...
May. 30, 2015 02:00 PM EDT Reads: 4,945
Explosive growth in connected devices. Enormous amounts of data for collection and analysis. Critical use of data for split-second decision making and actionable information. All three are factors in making the Internet of Things a reality. Yet, any one factor would have an IT organization pondering its infrastructure strategy. How should your organization enhance its IT framework to enable an Internet of Things implementation? In this session, James Kirkland, Red Hat's Chief Architect for the ...
May. 30, 2015 01:00 PM EDT Reads: 743