S&P lifts Haniel ratings outlook to "positive"

FRANKFURT, April 18 Fri Apr 18, 2014 7:39am EDT

FRANKFURT, April 18 (Reuters) - Standard & Poor's has revised its ratings outlook for German investment group Haniel to "positive" from "stable", after the group bolstered its finances.

Haniel has been shedding assets to offset a massive 2012 writedown on its holding in German retailer Metro and reduce debt, which stood at 1.6 billion euros ($2.2 billion) at the end of 2013.

Family-owned Haniel also received about 2 billion euros following the sale of its stake in German drugs distributor Celesio to U.S. drugs group McKesson this year.

"The improved outlook reflects Haniel's very substantial financial flexibility and improved financial risk profile following the sale of our stake in Celesio," Haniel said in a statement.

S&P also confirmed Haniel's rating at BB+. ($1 = 0.7228 euros) (Reporting by Victoria Bryan; Editing by Louise Ireland)

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