TEXT - Fitch rates Flextronics International proposed notes

Tue Feb 12, 2013 12:27pm EST

Feb 12 - Fitch Ratings has assigned a 'BBB-' rating to Flextronics
International Ltd.'s (Flextronics) proposed offering of $1 billion 
in senior unsecured notes. Fitch expects the proceeds to be used to refinance 
most of Flextronics' $1.2 billion senior unsecured term loan maturing October 
2014. 

KEY RATING DRIVERS:

Rating strengths include the following:

--Significant advantage in scale and scope of operations as the second largest 
provider of electronics manufacturing services in the world;

--Favorable industry trends toward increased manufacturing outsourcing, 
particularly in the emerging industrial, medical, and clean tech space where 
Flextronics has a leading position;

--Strategic positioning in increasingly complex EMS product offerings including 
product design, engineering, and product lifecycle management which enhance the 
value of EMS partnerships for customers;

--High working capital nature of the business model which provides a source of 
liquidity in a market downturn.

Ratings concerns include the following:

--Recent execution missteps, as exemplified by Flextronics's exiting the PC ODM 
business and prolonged difficulty in creating sustained profitability in the 
components space, which highlight the vulnerability to execution risk inherent 
in the low margin business profile;

--A highly competitive environment which pressures profitability across the 
industry;

--Customer concentration risk with its top 10 customers accounting for 
approximately 55% of revenue in fiscal 2012 (end March 2012);

--Exposure to the cyclicality of the IT industry and the broader macro economy 
through a high proportion of consumer and networking infrastructure business.

Liquidity as of Dec. 31, 2012 was solid with $1.7 billion in cash and a fully 
available $1.5 billion senior unsecured revolving credit facility which expires 
in October 2016. Flextronics utilizes off balance sheet accounts receivable 
securitization facilities as well as accounts receivable sales agreements for 
additional liquidity purposes.

Total debt as of Dec. 31, 2012 was $2.2 billion and consisted primarily of $1.7 
billion in senior unsecured term loans, of which $1.2 billion is due 2014 with 
the remainder due 2016, and $376 million of unsecured Asian term loans, of which
$176 million is due in September 2013 with the remainder due February 2014. 
Flextronics also has approximately $576 million outstanding under its accounts 
receivable securitization facilities and $182 million outstanding under various 
accounts receivable sales agreements.

Fitch has affirmed Flextronics's ratings as follows:

--Long-term IDR at 'BBB-';
--Senior unsecured debt at 'BBB-'.
The Rating Outlook is Stable.

RATING SENSITIVITY:

Negative: Future developments that may, individually or collectively, lead to 
negative rating action include:

--Secular shifts or a large customer loss resulting in margin compression with 
limited visibility on the potential to return profit margins to historical 
levels.

Positive: Upside movement in the ratings is limited given Flextronics's thin 
operating margin profile and capital intensive business model coupled with 
significant cyclical demand exposure. Greater diversification of the business 
into markets with significantly lower cyclicality could potentially create an 
opportunity for positive rating action.
A couple walks along the rough surf during sunset at Oahu's North Shore, December 26, 2013. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Find your dream retirement town

Florida? Hawaii? Reuters has teamed up with Zillow to give you the power to customize a list of your best places to retire.  Video | Full Article