Final month, two scores companies stated they have been reviewing Cetera Monetary’s credit score scores for a attainable downgrade, citing issues that the agency’s introduced acquisition of Avantax for $1.2 billion in money may weaken its monetary profile. Moody’s Buyers Service lately affirmed two of Cetera’s scores and downgraded its senior secured financial institution credit score facility scores to B2 from B1. In the meantime, S&P World Rankings affirmed its scores and eliminated Cetera from CreditWatch unfavourable.
The information comes as Avantax shareholders are set to vote on the acquisition on Nov. 21.
“We’re happy with the Moody’s determination to affirm our scores of B2/Steady and S&P’s determination to affirm our score of B/Steady,” stated a Cetera spokesperson, in a press release. “It is a testomony to Cetera’s administration crew and the agency’s glorious monitor file of acquisition financing, profitability and success.”
Moody’s assigned B2 scores to the corporate’s proposed $1.689 billion senior secured first lien time period mortgage and $700 million senior secured notes. Its outlook on the dealer/supplier community is secure.
The downgraded scores in addition to the B2 scores assigned “replicate the numerous improve within the quantity of secured debt in its capital construction, in addition to the precedence rating of secured debt relative to its unsecured debt,” Moody’s stated in a report.
The downgraded scores embody Cetera’s $1 billion senior secured first lien time period mortgage, $750 million senior secured first lien time period mortgage and $175 million senior secured first lien revolving credit score facility. As soon as it refinances, Moody’s will withdraw the B2 score on the $1 billion senior secured first lien time period mortgage.
Moody’s additionally confirmed Cetera’s company household score and its senior unsecured score, a mirrored image of “its improved profitability, money circulate and debt leverage all year long up to now, which can permit it to raised take in the numerous quantity of debt it plans to situation to fund the acquisition of Avantax, Inc. and preserve a monetary profile per its present score degree.” Moody’s additionally cited the size and strategic advantages of the acquisition, with the score company estimating the acquisition will enhance its whole property to round $475 billion.
Cetera’s trailing 12-months’ debt/EBITDA ratio on a Moody’s adjusted foundation was round 3.4x as of June 30, 2023, in comparison with 7.1x as of the tip of 2021. The score company stated it expects the acquisition to result in a rise in its leverage ratio to round 5.2x by the tip of 2024, however not sufficient to alter Moody’s score.
S&P World Rankings affirmed its scores on Cetera, together with its B issuer credit score, B senior secured and CCC+ senior unsecured debt scores, and eliminated them from CreditWatch unfavourable. Its outlook can also be secure. The company additionally assigned a B score to the brand new revolving credit score facility, incremental first-lien time period mortgage and new senior secured notes. The Avantax acquisition elevated Cetera’s professional forma leverage from 3.5x on the shut of its acquisition of Securian to 4.8x, S&P stated.
“The affirmation displays our expectation that regardless of the elevated debt burden from the Avantax acquisition, credit score metrics will stay inside our tolerances for the score,” S&P stated in a report.
S&P agreed with Moody’s that the Avantax acquisition improves Cetera’s scale. Each companies additionally stated the corporate ought to profit from a better rate of interest atmosphere.
“Greater-for-longer charges and price synergies from acquisitions ought to assist EBITDA over the following 12 months,” the S&P report stated. “We consider the Federal Reserve’s intent to maintain rates of interest increased for longer ought to proceed to assist money sweep revenues. We additionally consider execution threat associated to the acquisition of Avantax is restricted given the quantity of pretty simply realizable synergies akin to management and public firm associated staffing and overhead bills and consolidation of shared providers. The corporate continues to make progress in realizing the synergies recognized as a part of the lately closed acquisition of Securian.”
“Rate of interest-driven income usually flows to the agency’s bottom-line with little related incremental bills due to the rate-insensitivity of consumer money balances,” Moody’s stated. “These advantages will greater than offset decrease advisory and fee charges if the extent of broad equities markets ought to reasonably decline, and with elevated curiosity expense. Moreover, Moody’s expects Aretec to protect the advantages of upper charges by rising the portion of consumer money swept into fastened fee accounts or by rate of interest hedges.”