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Fitch lifts BASF's outlook to stable on financial profile strength

Fitch Ratings revised its outlook on BASF SE to stable from negative, saying it expects the German chemical firm's financial profile and leverage to remain in line with its rating guidance through 2021 despite major deals with Bayer AG, Solvay SA and Letterone Investment Holdings SA

As part of the rating action, Fitch also affirmed BASF's issuer default rating at A+.

The rating agency said BASF will be able to digest its acquisitions from Bayer and Solvay without compromising its financial profile. BASF agreed to buy Solvay's global polyamide business for €1.6 billion in September 2017, and crop sciences assets from Bayer for €7.6 billion in October 2017 and April 2018.

BASF also agreed in September to merge its oil and gas businesses with those of Letterone in a joint venture, a deal that will not have a negative impact on BASF's business profile, according to Fitch.

The debt watcher said the separation of BASF's oil and gas business will lower the company's capital intensity, and that the predicted transfer of debt to the joint venture will further boost balance-sheet strength.