FRANKFURT Nov 22 Cement maker HeidelbergCement
cancelled its contract with Standard & Poor's,
becoming the second German blue-chip company this week to
announce that it was dropping the ratings agency.
"Relations with the internationally recognised agencies
Fitch Ratings and Moody's will continue unchanged,"
HeidelbergCement said on Thursday.
The news comes a day after Deutsche Post said it
was switching from S&P to Fitch "for commercial reasons".
The three big agencies - S&P, Moody's and Fitch - dominate
the market for the quality assessments of companies and
individual securities that investors consider a vital component
in their investment decisions. The agencies are paid by the
companies they rate.
A dozen big German companies, including Bayer,
E.ON, Daimler and Siemens,
complained this year about "unacceptable" rises in S&P's prices,
which they said had more than doubled in some cases.
HeidelbergCement, however, said its decision to stop doing
business with S&P was not because of commercial factors, but it
did not elaborate further.
Germany's banking industry also wrote to S&P in August to
demand clarity on how the agency sets prices for the ratings it
grants banks after invoices rose steeply, echoing an earlier
complaint by industrial companies.