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S&P downgrades CI Financial long-term issuer credit rating

S&P Global Ratings has downgraded CI Financial Corp.'s long-term issuer credit rating to BBB+ from A- with a stable outlook.

Reported debt at the company rose almost 50% year over year at the end of 2017, with much of the debt proceeds going toward the acquisition of Sentry Investments and share buybacks, according to the rating agency. Leverage has risen consistently for the last few years to almost 1.5x at year-end 2017. S&P Global Ratings expects cash flow generation to increase in 2018, but noted that it anticipates the company to operate with debt-to-adjusted-EBITDA of 1x to 1.5x.

The stable outlook reflects the agency's debt-to-adjusted-EBITDA expectations for CI Financial during the next 12 to 24 months while organic growth continues to be modest.

S&P Global Ratings and S&P Global Market Intelligence are owned by S&P Global Inc.