TEXT-S&P assigns Home Depot shelf registration prelim 'A-' rating
Aug 30 - Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today that it assigned its 'A-' preliminary senior unsecured rating to Atlanta-based Home Depot Inc.'s (A-/Stable/A-2) automatic shelf registration statement filed Aug. 29, 2012. At the same time, we withdrew our 'A-' preliminary senior unsecured rating on the company's automatic shelf registration statement filed Aug. 21, 2009, which has expired. The ratings on Home Depot reflect our opinion that the company will maintain its "strong" business risk profile as the largest home improvement retailer in the world, supported by its substantial U.S. store footprint, improved profitability, and solid free cash flow-generating ability. We assess Home Depot's financial risk profile as "intermediate" and expect the company to maintain leverage at about 2x, resulting in credit measures remaining near current levels. (For the complete corporate credit rating rationale, see the full analysis on Home Depot, published June 29, 2012, on RatingsDirect.) RELATED CRITERIA AND RESEARCH -- Standard & Poor's Ratings Definitions, June 22, 2012 -- Liquidity Descriptors For Global Corporate Issuers, Sept. 28, 2011 -- Business Risk/Financial Risk Matrix Expanded, May 27, 2009 -- 2008 Corporate Criteria: Analytical Methodology, April 15, 2008 RATINGS LIST Home Depot Inc. Corporate Credit Rating A-/Stable/A-2 New Rating Home Depot Inc. Senior Unsecured Automatic shelf registration A-(prelim) Ratings Withdrawn To From Home Depot Inc. Automatic shelf registration NR A-(prelim) Complete ratings information is available to subscribers of RatingsDirect on the Global Credit Portal at www.globalcreditportal.com. All ratings affected by this rating action can be found on Standard & Poor's public Web site at www.standardandpoors.com. Use the Ratings search box located in the left column.