1 Nov 2011

Fitch downgrades Telecom to BBB+

11:45 am on 1 November 2011

Fitch Ratings has downgraded Telecom's credit rating from A- to BBB+, to reflect the extra competitive pressure the company will face after splitting in two.

Fitch says the company will face competition from other operators, some of whom will continue to own their own infrastructure at exchanges. It has however assigned Telecom a stable outlook.

A company's credit rating affects its ability to borrow money from banks and funding institutions, and the downgrade could make it more difficult and expensive for Telecom to do so.

However, Telecom says Fitch has formed its view on an unsolicited basis, without engaging with the company.

It says rating without request is of questionable value, considering the complexity of the demerger.

Other ratings agencies plan to adjust Telecom's ratings after it separates, and have been in discussion with the company.

Standard and Poor's expects to assign a rating of A-, with a stable outlook, and Moody's have advised it's likely to assign a preliminary credit rating of AAA with a stable outlook.