TEXT - S&P comments on Mohawk Industries
Dec 21 - Standard & Poor's Ratings Services said today its ratings and outlook on Mohawk Industries Inc. (BBB-/Stable/--) will not be affected at this time by the company's announcement to acquire the Marazzi Group (not rated)--one of the largest producers of tile products in Europe and the U.S. Mohawk entered a definitive agreement to acquire Marazzi for EUR1.17 billion, or approximately $1.5 billion, with a combination of cash and equity. Marazzi's estimated 2012 EBITDA of EUR145 million constitutes a purchase multiple of about 8x. While we expect Mohawk's pro forma total adjusted debt to EBITDA will increase to slightly over 3x as a result of the transaction, we expect Mohawk to de-lever fairly rapidly as free cash flow is dedicated to reduce debt in 2013. We believe Mohawk's adjusted leverage by the end of 2013 will be about 2.5x and funds from operation to debt will exceed 30%, both measures being in line with the current rating. We also believe the transaction enhances Mohawk's business risk profile as it will expand the company's presence in flooring tile markets in both Europe and the U.S. The acquisition would also combine Marazzi's leading manufacturing and product development with Mohawk's Dal-Tile's strong distribution system. We also expect Mohawk will benefit from Marazzi's low-cost production and higher profit margins in the tile business. Completion of the transaction is subject to regulatory approvals and the parties expect it to close in the first quarter of 2013.