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TEXT-S&P rates Dispensing Dynamics 'B-', outlook is stable
December 17, 2012 / 9:41 PM / 5 years ago

TEXT-S&P rates Dispensing Dynamics 'B-', outlook is stable

     -- U.S.-based Dispensing Dynamics International, a leading designer of 
paper towel, tissue, soap, and odor dispensing systems, is proposing to issue 
$125 million of senior secured notes to refinance its existing debt and to 
provide a dividend to its existing shareholders.
     -- We are assigning a 'B-' corporate credit rating to DDI and a 'B-' 
issue-level rating to the company's proposed $125 million senior secured notes.
     -- Our stable outlook reflects our view that operating performance will 
improve but that credit measures, including FFO-to-debt of less than 12%, will 
remain commensurate with its highly leveraged financial risk profile. 
Rating Action
On Dec. 17, 2012, Standard & Poor's Ratings Services assigned its 'B-' 
corporate credit rating to City of Industry, Calif.-based Dispensing Dynamics 
International (DDI). The rating outlook is stable.

At the same time, Standard & Poor's assigned its 'B-' issue-level rating (same 
as the corporate credit rating) to the company's proposed $125 million senior 
secured notes due 2017. The recovery rating is '3', indicating our expectation 
of meaningful (50% to 70%) recovery for noteholders in the event of a payment 
default. The company also has a new $15 million asset-based lending (ABL) 
facility due 2017, which will not be rated. 

Proceeds from DDI's proposed offering will be used to refinance all existing 
debt and to provide a special dividend to its shareholders.

The corporate credit rating on Dispensing Dynamics International reflects what 
we consider to be the combination of DDI's "vulnerable" business risk profile 
and "highly leveraged" financial risk profile. Our view of the company's 
"vulnerable" business risk profile is due to its one manufacturing plant, 
customer concentration, and small size and scope. Still, the company has a 
leading share in its niche markets.

Standard & Poor's views DDI's financial risk profile as highly leveraged given 
our expectation that debt to EBITDA will approximate 5.5x on a pro forma 
basis. We also expect that DDI will generate minimal cash flow going forward 
resulting in very little funds from operations (FFO) relative to debt as we 
expect FFO to debt to remain below 10% in the next 12 to 24 months. To a 
lesser extent, our opinion is influenced by the company's uncertain financial 
policies related to its ownership by private equity.

Our base case scenario envisions DDI sales growth of about 2.3% and 2.7% in 
2013 and 2014, respectively, in line with our economist's forecasts of GDP. 
The sales growth is from higher volume due to increased customer penetration, 
new product offerings, and increased sales in the foodservice categories. We 
are assuming about 1% to 2% of annual price increases, which is in line with 
historical levels. We expect margin improvement from reduced overhead costs 
from facility rationalization as well as improved material costs. Under this 
scenario we expect DDI to generate EBITDA of about $30 million in 2013. 
Consequently, we expect debt to EBITDA of about 4.5x and FFO to debt of about 
9%. In addition, our assessment of its financial risk considers the 
uncertainty of the company's financial policies, specifically its dividend 
policy, given its private equity ownership. A risk to our forecasts is the 
execution risk related to DDI's aggressive cost cutting targets, in our view, 
which if not met, will lead to less-than-expected operating results and weaker 
cash flow generation.

Dispensing Dynamics International is a leading designer of paper towel, 
tissue, soap, and odor dispensing systems, primarily utilized in commercial or 
"away-from-home" (AFH) washroom settings. We estimate that it has about a 50% 
market share of the $150 million North American value-added paper dispensing 
market. Its designs include electronic, mechanical hands free, center pull 
dispensers, and hybrid roll paper towel dispensers. Its product portfolio also 
includes tissue dispensers, soap dispensers, and odor dispensers. Its products 
are patent protected. However, the majority its patents will expire in 2017, 
heightening competitive risk.

In the first quarter of 2013, DDI plans to consolidate its manufacturing into 
one facility in City of Industry, California and close its Vancouver, British 
Columbia manufacturing operations. This consolidation would materially 
increase the risk of production delays and revenue loss due to unexpected 
failures of equipment and machinery or any other unexpected events or 
circumstances at the plant. In addition, any production delays could impact 
its relationships with its customers, specifically its top two customers, 
which account for close to 30% of its business, as business is largely based 
on individual sales orders, as opposed to long-term contracts.

Customers prefer to outsource their paper dispensing manufacturing needs to 
DDI to focus on their core competencies. Because paper manufacturers often 
design paper programs around DDI's proprietary dispensers, it is more 
difficult for competitors to enter the market and there are high switching 
costs for customers. However, some of DDI's paper original equipment 
manufacturer customers may already have or may develop in-house production 
capabilities. Any loss or material reduction of business from plant outages, 
changes in customer preferences or loyalties, shift to in-house production, or 
the lack of success of sales initiatives, for DDI's products could have a 
material adverse impact on the future cash flows of the business.

We view the company's liquidity position as adequate based on full 
availability of the new $15 million revolving credit facility and our 
expectation for positive operating cash flow. Key aspects of our liquidity 
assessment reflect the following expectations:

     -- That liquidity sources will exceed uses by 1.2x or more over the next 
year and 1x over the next 18 to 24 months.
     -- That liquidity sources will continue to exceed uses, even if EBITDA 
were to decline by 15%.

We estimate that free operating cash flow will be no more than $5 million in 
2013 as capital expenditures declines significantly from about $9 million in 
2012 to $6 million in 2013, due to one-time plant consolidation expenses 
incurred in 2012. We expect capital spending in a range of $6 million in each 
of the next two years and we do not expect the company to pay dividends to its 
owners next year.

We expect the new $15 million revolving credit facility to have a 
fixed-charged covenant ratio applicable only when the revolving credit 
facility exceeds $10 million or excess availability is less than 33% of the 
facility. Based on our current assumptions, we expect the company to maintain 
adequate liquidity and cushion of at least 15% under its revolver covenant. 
There are no near-term maturities until 2017, when both the ABL and the term 
loan are due.

Recovery analysis
For the complete recovery analysis, see our recovery report to be published on 
RatingsDirect following this report.

The stable rating outlook reflects our expectation that credit measures will 
remain consistent with its highly leveraged financial risk profile with 2013 
debt to EBITDA and FFO to debt of about 4.5x and 9%, respectively, despite our 
assumptions for both higher volumes and prices. We expect DDI will maintain 
adequate liquidity based on committed revolving borrowing capacity and minimal 
capital spending.

We could lower the rating if DDI experiences weaker-than-expected end market 
demand resulting in weaker-than-expected operating performance or the company 
experiences higher-than-expected costs from its inability to meet its target 
cost cutting initiatives such that total leverage increases above 6x on a 
sustained basis or the company fails to generate sufficient FFO such that FFO 
to debt approaches 5%. This could occur if the aforementioned actions result 
in more than a 150 basis point decline in gross margins.

An upgrade is less likely in the next 12 months given our assessment of DDI's 
highly leveraged financial risk profile with pro forma leverage of about 5.5x. 
However, we could raise our rating in the longer term as operating performance 
improves and DDI establishes a track record of maintaining lower leverage 
comfortably in the 4x range, with FFO to debt above 12%.

Related Criteria And Research
     -- Key Credit Factors: Business And Financial Risks In The Global 
Building Products And Materials Industry, Nov. 19, 2008
     -- Methodology: Business Risk/Financial Risk Matrix Expanded, Sept. 18, 
     -- Methodology And Assumptions: Liquidity Descriptors For Global 
Corporate Issuers, Sept. 28, 2011.

Ratings List
New Ratings; Outlook Action

Dispensing Dynamics International
 Corporate Credit Rating                B-/Stable/--       
 Senior Secured                         B-                 
   Recovery Rating                      3                  

Complete ratings information is available to subscribers of RatingsDirect on 
the Global Credit Portal at All ratings affected 
by this rating action can be found on Standard & Poor's public Web site at Use the Ratings search box located in the left 

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