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S&P affirms Carnival's ratings, revises outlook to negative

S&P Global Ratings on Oct. 10 affirmed Carnival Corp. & PLC's A- issuer credit rating and A-2 short-term rating but revised the cruise operator's outlook to negative from stable, citing increased possibility of higher leverage.

According to Ratings, there is a heightened possibility that Carnival's operating lease and port commitment adjusted leverage could increase above the agency's 2.5x downgrade threshold forecast for an extended period of time through 2020 due to the likelihood of a U.S. recession in the next 12 months.

The agency expects Carnival's adjusted leverage this year to end slightly below the threshold largely due to the timing of new ship deliveries in fiscal 2019. It believes the company's leverage will remain at that level because of forecast high expenditures mainly related to new ships in fiscal 2020.

Ratings also expects dividends and cash outflows to be largely fixed.

The agency said it can restore Carnival's stable outlook if it is confident that the company will maintain adjusted leverage below 2.5x. Meanwhile, it said it could downgrade the company's ratings if adjusted leverage would be sustained above 2.5x and funds from operations to debt would be sustained under 35%.

This S&P Global Market Intelligence news article may contain information about credit ratings issued by S&P Global Ratings. Descriptions in this news article were not prepared by S&P Global Ratings.