TEXT - S&P rates Lockheed Martin exchange notes 'A-'
Nov 15 - Standard & Poor's Ratings Services today assigned its 'A-' rating to Lockheed Martin Corp.'s proposed 4.07% senior unsecured notes due 2042. The company has offered to exchange the proposed notes plus cash for up to approximately $3.4 billion of certain existing debt maturing between 2023 and 2040. The company will issue the notes under SEC rule 144A with registration rights. The ratings on Lockheed Martin reflect our expectations that the company will be able to generate significant free cash flow despite lower demand from the U.S. government and that management will balance the allocation of capital among dividends, share repurchases, acquisitions, and voluntary pension contributions. The "intermediate" financial risk profile reflects credit ratios that are somewhat weak for the rating, mostly because of large postretirement liabilities (most of which are recoverable under government contracts), but solid cash generation and "strong" liquidity. The "strong" business risk profile incorporates the company's position as the largest defense contractor worldwide, a healthy contractual backlog, and good program diversity. RELATED CRITERIA AND RESEARCH -- Methodology: Business Risk/Financial Risk Matrix Expanded, Sept. 18, 2012 -- Standard & Poor's Standardizes Liquidity Descriptors for Global Corporate Issuers, July 2, 2010 -- Key Credit Factors: Methodology and Assumptions On Risks In The Aerospace And Defense Industries, June 24, 2009 -- 2008 Corporate Criteria: Analytical Methodology, April 15, 2008 RATINGS LIST Lockheed Martin Corp. Corporate Credit Rating A-/Negative/A-2 New Rating Lockheed Martin Corp. Senior Unsecured 4.07% sr unsecd notes due 2042 A-