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S&P Global Ratings further cuts Freeport's credit ratings to BB-

S&P Global Ratings further lowered Freeport-McMoRan Inc.'s corporate credit rating to BB- from BB, but this time with a stable outlook.

This is the second downgrade for Freeport this year. S&P Global Ratings lowered the company's corporate credit rating to BB from BBB- in February, with a negative outlook.

The latest downgrade reflects an updated view of Freeport's competitive position, operating efficiency and scale.

The ratings action also considered the agency's view that, despite stagnant credit measures in the first half, the company will have a stronger financial risk profile by year-end due to ongoing efforts to reduce debt.

The company's financial risk assessment takes into account commitment to debt reduction and expected repayment of additional debt in 2016.

The company plans to cut its debt by up to US$10 billion before the end of 2017 if copper prices remain around current levels. This plan includes anticipated asset sales of US$4.7 billion and an equity raise of up to US$1.5 billion.

"We are including the anticipated asset sales and their associated implications in our forecast, but excluding any potential equity issuances," S&P Global Ratings said Sept. 28.

S&P Global Ratings and SNL Metals & Mining, an offering of S&P Global Market Intelligence, are both owned by S&P Global Inc.