TEXT-S&P says Limited Brands rtgs unaffected by special dividend

Thu Aug 2, 2012 1:38pm EDT

Aug 2 - Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that Columbus, Ohio-based Limited Brands Inc.'s announced $1 per share special dividend will have no immediate effect on our ratings on the company, including the 'BB+' corporate credit rating, or outlook. We estimate that the special dividend will total about $291 million.

In our view, the company will continue to take shareholder-friendly actions in the future, including share repurchases and special dividends. This is already factored into our assessment of Limited Brands' financial risk profile. We believe that these actions could be meaningfully larger than historical amounts and will depend on company performance. We expect the company's operations to improve further over the next 12 months, which should benefit credit protection metrics.

The stable outlook on Limited Brands reflects our view that the company's financial policies will remain aggressive, but that it will manage its shareholder activities with leverage at about 3x over the next 12 months. The outlook also incorporates our view that its strong merchandising and marketing efforts will translate to moderate performance gains over the next year.