FollowingSouthwestern Energy Co.'srecent move to strengthen itsbalance sheet, Moody's on July 18 upgraded the company's ratings inanticipation of improved credit metrics and liquidity.
SouthwesternEnergy's corporate family rating was raised to Ba3 from B1, the probability ofdefault rating to Ba3-PD from B1-PD and the speculative grade liquidity ratingto SGL-2 from SGL-3, according to a news release. The rating agency alsoaffirmed the company's the senior unsecured notes rating at B1. The ratingsoutlook remains stable.
Therating agency anticipates Southwestern Energy's credit metrics "willcontinue to improve over the next two years" and that it will have "goodliquidity through 2017."
"Theupgrade recognizes the meaningful steps [Southwestern Energy] has taken towardsimproving its credit metrics and reducing refinancing risk in this weakcommodity price environment. Proceeds from its equity issuance and asset salesin excess of $1.5 billion will be used to reduce debt and could be used toincrease drilling and completions activity, supporting [Southwestern Energy's]leverage metrics," Moody's Vice President — Senior Analyst Arvinder Salujasaid. "The affirmation of the unsecured notes reflects the introduction ofsecured debt into the capital structure following closing of the securedterm loan facility."